As Title 42 ends, post falsely claims Biden has no plan for migrants at US-Mexico border | Fact check

The claim: The Biden administration has ‘no plan’ to stop migrants once Title 42 ends

A May 9 Facebook post (direct link, archive link) makes a claim about the end of Title 42.

“There are currently 700k migrants waiting to surge into the US southern border May 15th when title 42 ends,” reads the post. “The Biden administration has no plan to stop them. He has totally abdicated his responsibility to follow the laws and constitution of this country.”

A similar claim from Republican 2024 presidential candidate Nikki Haley generated over 1,000 likes on Twitter. Other posts with similar claims from politicians have spread widely on Facebook.

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Our rating: False

The Biden administration and federal agencies have laid out numerous plans and policies related to border security and migrant processing ahead of Title 42’s end, according to news reports and press releases. The plans include sending more troops to the border, reverting back to standard immigration law and tightening measures for asylum seekers.

Biden administration has announced several plans ahead of Title 42’s end on May 11

On May 11, the Biden administration ends Title 42, a section of a 1944 public health service act that was implemented under the Trump administration and made it easier to expel migrants at U.S. borders without a typical legal review during the COVID-19 pandemic, as USA TODAY reported. Officials have raised concerns about the crowd of migrants expected to surge into the United States once Title 42 expires.

But it’s wrong to claim the Biden administration doesn’t have a plan in place, according to Dara Lind, a senior fellow at the nonprofit advocacy group American Immigration Council. 

“The Biden administration has extensively discussed its plans for the end of Title 42, which include not only a return to standard immigration law, but… additional staffing and facilities at the border,” Lind said in an email.

The State Department also said in an April 27 press release that Title 42’s end “does not mean the border is open.” It said the nation would transition back to fully processing migrants under Title 8, an immigration policy that was jointly used with Title 42 during the pandemic.

Under Title 8, asylum seekers have the opportunity to undergo a credible fear interview with an asylum officer or present their case in front of an immigration judge, the Arizona Republic reported. Migrants must apply for asylum one year before arrival, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Migrants who fail the credible fear interview or don’t request asylum could undergo the process of expedited removal and be deported back to their home country or Mexico, according to the Arizona Republic.

Fact check: False claim that undocumented immigrants get Social Security numbers at the border

All migrants seeking asylum are also expected to make an appointment through CBP One, a mobile app, as per regular policy, according to the American Immigration Council.  U.S. Customs and Border Protection made updates to the app on May 5 to expand the number of appointments and prioritize those registered first in an effort to faster process noncitizens for inspection.

The Biden administration continued shaping its policy in the days leading up to the deadline, including a May 10 announcement – after the Biden plan claims began circulating –that it will begin denying asylum eligibility to migrants who did not first apply online or seek protection at other countries they have traveled through, the Associated Press reported.

Various agencies under the Biden administration have also taken steps to ensure border security ahead of Title 42’s expiration.

For instance, the Department of Defense announced May 2 that 1,500 additional troops will be sent to the border to help with “ground-based detection and monitoring, data entry and warehouse support.” In addition, the United States has increased the number of removal flights for migrants without a legal basis to stay, and these flights will likely double or triple for some countries, the Department of Homeland Security said in an April 27 release.

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas also laid out a six-pillar plan in April 2022 to manage an increase in encounters at the border ahead of Title 42. The plan, which was updated in December, includes surging resources to facilitate border operations, increasing border patrol processing efficiency and collaborating with partners to deter irregular migration south of the border.

USA TODAY reached out to the social media users who shared the claim for comment but did not immediately receive a response.

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