Migrant Surges at the Southern Border Comes as CDC Lifts COVID Measure

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Currents News Staff

Surges in COVID-19 cases and asylum requests might soon hit the U.S. at the same time. The CDC is lifting a Trump administration order that stopped most migrant crossings at the southern border, including those for asylum since March 2020.

Immigrant advocates argue Title 42 is about politics, but the stated reason for it is COVID-19. The CDC says it’s lifting the measure on May 23. It says prevention and mitigation strategies and public health conditions are better now.

“Por eso me espero,” said Liliana Lopez, a Honduran mother waiting to seek asylum. “Hasta que quiten el Articulo 42.”

Lopez said she hopes that the country will get rid of Title 42. Refugees like this mother plan to cross the border as soon as they can. Officials expect as many as 18,000 migrant encounters at the Southern border daily in the short term.

“The goal should be to make sure those asylum claims are heard in a prompt way,” said Ron Klain, White House Chief of Staff, “that those who deserve protection from prosecution are heard, those who don’t are sent back.”

Add to that number the hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian refugees President Joe Biden promised asylum.

“The easiest way to get to the U.S. right now isn’t easy at all,” said Central America Bureau Chief at The Washington Post Kevin Sieff. “It requires flying to Mexico and then eventually to Tijuana on the border and putting your name on a list and then waiting.”

They’re seeking to enter a country where average daily COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths have been going down nationwide. But experts say the highly contagious Omicron subvariant ba.2 might be reversing those trends.

COVID cases continue to fall in 21 states. They’re plateauing in these areas and going up in more than a dozen states plus Puerto Rico.