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How Title 42 changed the U.S. immigration process

Earlier this month, the Biden administration announced it would end a controversial immigration policy called Title 42 at the end of May. Under it, anyone who arrives at the border who doesn’t have authorization to enter could be expelled from the U.S without any hearing, including those seeking asylum who might have a credible humanitarian claim.

Since it’s been in place — since March of 2020 — Title 42 has been used in 1.7 million expulsions, most of them under the Biden administration.

Advocates have long argued that Title 42 denies migrants their right to seek asylum and leaves them in often dangerous situations in Mexican border towns. But ending the program is turning out to be more complicated than Biden might have hoped.

Now, a group of U.S. senators — including both of Arizona’s — have introduced legislation that would force the Biden administration to keep Title 42 in place. Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema argue we can’t lift the rule without a plan in place, and Sinema has said she has no faith the administration will be able to do what’s necessary in time.

Muzaffar Chishti is a senior fellow at the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute. 

The Show spoke with him recently to learn how we got here, and how Title 42 fundamentally changed the approach the U.S. took to people fleeing violence or persecution at home.

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Lauren Gilger, host of KJZZ's The Show, is an award-winning journalist whose work has impacted communities large and small, exposing injustices and giving a voice to the voiceless and marginalized.