(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
OAN Roy Francis
UPDATED 12:54 PM PT – Wednesday, March 8, 2023
As the end of the COVID-19 restrictions along the border is coming to an end, the Biden administration is weighing options on how to handle the incoming increase of border crossings.
According to officials in the Biden administration, detaining migrant families who cross into the United States illegally is one of the top options that is being discussed. This would be a major shift of direction for the current administration after officials had stopped holding families in detention centers in 2021, calling the process “inhumane.”
According to Homeland Security, if families are to be detained, then they would be held for a short period of time while their cases would be expedited through the courts.
The current practice under the Biden administration has been to release families who arrive through the U.S.-Mexico border into the country and then told to be present at court at a later date. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials now use holding facilities to hold only single adults who cross illegally.
As the number of migrants reached record numbers towards the end of 2022, officials have been looking for stronger and more effective methods to reduce the number of crossings at the border.
The number of immigrants has somewhat been reduced since President Joe Biden had announced in January that Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans would be deported back to Mexico if they were to cross illegally.
In February, the Biden administration also announced that it would deny asylum for immigrants who cross the border into the U.S. without first filing for asylum in the countries that they had passed through. A policy introduced by the Trump administration, but had faced major criticism and backlash, and never took effect due to being blocked in a court.
Family detention centers in Texas were previously used by both the Trump and Obama administration as the cases of the immigrants being held went through immigration courts.
The idea of detaining families once again was met with backlash from immigration advocates. Many said they were surprised that the current administration would consider implementing the same policy that Former President Donald Trump had been utilizing.
“I’m alarmed by news reports that the administration is considering reinstating family detention policies,” Bennie Thompson, (D-Miss.), the ranking member on the House Homeland Security Committee said. “Not only are these policies cruel and harmful to children, but they don’t prevent families from traveling to the United States.”
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre refused to comment on whether the policy was under consideration or not, or whether the president thought that it would be humane to hold families. Furthermore she pushed back against the comparison between what Biden is doing and what former President Trump had been doing.
″A lot of people have compared what the president is doing, is either extending what Trump did or being very Trump-like,” she said. “That is not what is happening here.”
Reporter: “Is there ever an instance in which [Biden] thinks detaining migrant families can be safe, orderly, and humane?”
Jean-Pierre: “I’m just not going to get into, again, that’s diving into speculation that’s out there.” pic.twitter.com/ZqrfgU0xkR
— Washington Free Beacon (@FreeBeacon) March 7, 2023
Administration officials have decided to end the national COVID emergency on May 11th. Since Title 42 had been tied to the national emergency, it will be lifted on the same day. The Supreme Court, however, is considering a Republican effort to leave the policy in place.
As of yet there is no official border policy set to handle the influx of migrants along the southern border after Title 42 is lifted.