Title 42 of the United States Code, Chapter 6A, Subchapter II, Part G, Section 265 addresses suspension of entries and imports from designated places to prevent spread of communicable diseases:
“Whenever the Surgeon General determines that by reason of the existence of any communicable disease in a foreign country there is serious danger of the introduction of such disease into the United States, and that this danger is so increased by the introduction of persons or property from such country that a suspension of the right to introduce such persons and property is required in the interest of the public health, the Surgeon General, in accordance with regulations approved by the President, shall have the power to prohibit, in whole or in part, the introduction of persons and property from such countries or places as he shall designate in order to avert such danger, and for such period of time as he may deem necessary for such purpose. (July 1, 1944, ch. 373, title III, §362, 58 Stat. 704.)”
March 2020 The Department of Health and Human Services (CDC) issues an emergency regulation to implement Title 42. As it is considered an “expulsion” rather than a “deportation”, the migrants are not afforded the right to make a case to stay in the U.S. before an immigration judge. Final version of order was issued in September, 2020.)
CDC officials objected to the use of Title 42 at the border (there are many millions of legal border crossings a week that are not covered by the order); it was initiated by DHS. (Go here and here.)
November 2020 A federal court ordered a halt to the practice in regard to unaccompanied minor children; in January 29, 2021, the stay was lifted.
February 2021 The CDC issues a notice formally exempting unaccompanied children from expulsion.
February 2021 Mexico stopped accepting families with children under the program. Also, Mexican stopped accepting non-Mexican family units with minor children returned to Mexico under Title 42.
August 2021 Biden Administration extends use of Title 42 policy. The Department of Homeland Security said in a statement that “Title 42 is not an immigration authority, but a public health authority, and its continued use is dictated by CDC and governed by the CDC’s analysis of public health factors.”
September 2021 In FY 2021 (Oct 2020 – Sept 2021) more than 60% of Border Patrol encounters of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border resulted in expulsion under Title 42.
December 2021 Title 42 continues to be applied, now citing the Omicron variant.
Since March 2020, U.S. authorities along the border with Mexico have used a public health authority known as Title 42 to rapidly expel migrants more than 1,163,000 times without allowing them to see an immigration judge or an asylum officer.