WASHINGTON – US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) chief Chris Magnus acknowledged Thursday that Title 42, the Trump-era border rule that the Biden administration has enforced for a year and a half, has a “human cost.” On migrants, they are stranded in parts of Mexico where they face poor conditions and insecurity.

During an exclusive interview with CBS News at CBP Headquarters, Magnus, who became commissioner in December 2021, highlighted the humanitarian and operational crises from Title 42 that allow US border agents to quickly evacuate migrants on public health grounds. allows for.

“One of the things that I think cannot be denied is that the conditions are very difficult for individuals returning to Mexico,” Magnus said. “We know that some shelters, some other places where migrants find themselves waiting, are not great for families and children.”

The US advocacy group Human Rights First has compiled more than 10,000 reports of attacks, kidnappings and killings against migrants stranded in Mexico since President Biden took office in January 2021. The US has expelled some immigrants to Mexican states that Americans are advised to avoid traveling because of widespread crime and kidnapping.

Magnus said continued enforcement of Title 42, which was mandated by a federal court in May, is also increasing the operational challenges faced by its agents, as the policy has allowed many migrants to leave the U.S. at times. Arrests Recorded Last Year CBP said 22% of its border arrests in July involved migrants who had previously been detained.

“It is disappointing to our agents and officers that we are, you know, we are expelling many people, many expatriates who fall under Title 42, only to see them try and in fact some cases. I also successfully cross the boundary again and again, because under Title 42, there are no results,” Magnus said.

While Title 42 prohibits migrants from seeking asylum, expulsion under the policy does not come with the threat of detention or criminal prosecution, unlike multi-year deportation or formal deportation from the US.

Despite the problems it caused, Magnus stated that Title 42 “has value” in some ways, noting the expulsion in the U.S. Magnus also said that the policy had “some public health value in the past.”

“There are certainly some advantages to Title 42. But there’s also a human cost to it,” Magnus said.

First authorized in March 2020 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) during the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Title 42 allows US officials along the Mexican border to expel more than 2 million migrants to Mexico or their home countries Is. Two years on, government figures show.

Despite its public health justification, the CDC order authorizing the evictions was signed over the objection of the agency’s top experts who did not believe the policy was appropriate, according to congressional testimony and CBS News reporting.

The Biden administration defended Title 42 as an essential public health measure for more than a year, but it went on to call off the policy this spring. However, a coalition of Republican state attorneys general convinced a federal judge in Louisiana to force border officials to continue evictions indefinitely.

While tens of thousands of migrants continue to be expelled each month, the percentage of border-crossers under Title 42 has decreased recently. According to CBP data, in July, about 40% of migrants detained by Border Patrol faced expulsion.

The low eviction percentage can be partly attributed to record arrivals of migrants from Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and other countries where the US cannot expel individuals because of strained diplomatic relations or military challenges. In July, about 50% of border encounters involved migrants from countries outside the Northern Triangle of Mexico and Central America.

Under Mr Biden, arrests at the US-Mexico border have reached a record high. CBP has reported nearly 2 million migrant encounters in fiscal year 2022, a figure that surpassed the record set in 2021, even with two months left in the fiscal year, agency data shows.

According to the United Nations, Magnus said he is not sure that border arrivals will return to pre-pandemic levels, noting that the world is facing a historic displacement crisis, forcing millions to flee their homes. Huh.

“There are unprecedented levels of cartel and gang violence in other countries, political turmoil. People are at real risk. Some of them actually [face] such danger to their families, that they see no option but to flee ,” They said.

But Republican lawmakers have said the historic migration wave is a direct result of the Biden administration’s rhetoric and policies, including the reversal of some Trump-era asylum restrictions. He has accused the administration of laxity in border enforcement and condemned the large-scale release of migrants.

Asked whether it’s possible that the conditions in the migrants’ home countries and human traffickers have led to record border arrivals, which they see as more welcoming policies under Mr Biden, Magnus said. They don’t think there is “a particular push or pull factor.”

“I think this administration is as committed to abiding by the law as it pertains to asylum. I think we’re committed to treating people humanely and obeying the law,” Magnus said. “But I think we have also made it clear that the border is not open.

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