Three years ago, when the coronavirus pandemic brought the world to a standstill and changed the way people live, it also fundamentally disrupted an act as old as humanity itself: migration.
In the United States, the administration of then-President Donald Trump introduced an emergency health order to stop the spread of COVID-19, targeting people seeking entry from the country’s southern border. The Title 42 rule allowed US authorities to turn away most migrants and refugees arriving at the border, without giving them the opportunity to apply for protection. Since it was implemented, the US has recorded 2.7 million Title 42 removals, according to government figures. This includes people who may have been rejected multiple times. The policy expired on Thursday, May 11, 2023.
On May 12, at the Tijuana-San Diego border crossing, a group of 200 migrants entered the US. Now they will have to go through a long process that can take years to decide if a person obtains asylum status to remain in the country.
The Department of Homeland Security has said that under a new rule, Title 8, people will be disqualified from seeking asylum in the US if they did not apply in the countries they crossed earlier on their journeys. The Mexican government also announced that they will continue to accept returns under Title 8 at the US border. Individuals expelled under Title 8 are subject to a five-year admission bar and possible criminal prosecution if they attempt to re-enter within that period.
However, that uncertainty is a risk many are willing to take, all in the hope of a new life eventually.