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Biden Promised to End the Trump-Era Immigration Policy. On the Ground, It’s More of the Same

President Joe Biden campaigned on a promise to give U.S. immigration policy a “fair and humane” overhaul, but the events in Del Rio, Texas, over the past week have created the impression for some that not much has changed from the Trump era.

Biden’s liberal use of expulsions has drawn fierce criticism from immigration groups, Democrats, and the government’s own special envoy to Haiti, who resigned in protest. They were carried out under a decades-old law that allows the government to block entry to individuals during public health emergencies. The Title 42 clause was rarely used until Donald Trump put it to action in March 2020 to rapidly expel migrants and asylum applicants, citing the Covid-19 pandemic as justification.

“It’s outrageous and egregious that the Biden administration is continuing the policy that the Trump administration designed to keep people out of this country, against the law, and in violation of their rights to seek asylum,” said Wade McMullen, human rights lawyer with Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, who came to Del Rio to help arriving migrants.

Human rights groups harshly condemned the practice as unlawful, and have challenged it in court, but it has continued under Biden at an even higher rate. A total of 605,509 people were expelled using Title 42 in the seven months since his inauguration, more than double the 255,163 expelled between March 2020 and January 2021 under Mr Trump.

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