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Biden admin will keep a Trump-era public health order expelling most migrants in place

Kaylee Greenlee, DCNF

The Biden administration will keep a Trump-era public health order used to expel most migrants from the U.S. in place, citing COVID-19 variants, Reuters reported Thursday.

President Joe Biden reportedly planned to lift public health order Title 42 restrictions for migrant families at the end of July, according to Reuters. The administration decided not to lift the order in light of rising COVID-19 infections in Mexico and the spread of the delta variant, according to three people familiar with the matter, Reuters reported.

“It will remain in place as long as that is the guidance from our health and medical experts,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Monday. Psaki added the administration hasn’t publicly announced a timeframe for the restrictions.

It’s unclear when Title 42 restrictions might be lifted for families or across the board, according to Reuters. Human rights groups, immigration advocacy organizations and Democrats have criticized Biden for continuing the Trump-era policy of expelling migrants back to unsafe border communities in Mexico.

Border officials have expelled over 500,000 migrants using Title 42, though some of them made several attempts to enter the U.S., Reuters reported. Officials have encountered more than 900,000 migrants at the southern border since January, according to Customs and Border Protection.

Thousands of migrants were allowed to enter the U.S. under humanitarian exceptions through an informal program managed by several non-profit organizations, though some of the organizations have or are planning to withdraw, according to Reuters.

“We have made a commitment to do this until the end of August,” refugee organization HIAS Vice President for International Programs Rachel Levitan told Reuters. “That is the end of the line for us.”

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