The coronavirus pandemic has become a catalyst for the rapid expulsion of people crossing into the United States illegally at the southern border. Under emergency immigration measures put in place by the Trump administration, U.S. Border Patrol agents have been sending migrants back into Mexico at a rapid clip, according to The Washington Post.
Nick Miroff, who broke the story, says the government considers them “expulsions” rather than deportations. Under normal circumstances, it takes much longer for authorities to process someone thought to be crossing into the country illegally. But under Title 42 of the U.S. Code, the government can quickly expel someone to protect public health. Miroff says expulsions takes about 96 minutes.
“All of the rules that we commonly associate with this process are essentially out the window under the extraordinary emergency powers,” Miroff says. “In a health pandemic of this kind … they can implement this type of rapid measure to ‘expel’ foreign nationals.”
Miroff says migrants aren’t officially arrested, rather, Border Patrol takes their fingerprints and information while “in the field,” and then sends them back into Mexico.
He says authorities are not evaluating or documenting those migrants’ health.
Most of those expelled will be sent back to Mexico thanks to a recent agreement. Mexico agreed to take expelled Mexican migrants, as well as those from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Anyone else will face a somewhat longer process, and then will be sent by plane out of the United States.
It’s unclear how long the government will continue the expulsions. But Miroff says they are exemplary of how the Trump administration has wanted to handle immigration at the southern border all along.
Written by Caroline Covington.