Breaking News
More () »

Explainer: What's Title 42 and what happens when it ends?

Title 42 is expected to end May 11, which has created an influx of migrants seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border. What happens after it expires?

SAN DIEGO — Title 42 is expected to end May 11, which has created an influx of migrants seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border. But what happens after it expires?

What's Title 42?

Title 42 is a public health order that was adopted three years ago by the Trump administration because of the COVID pandemic. It allows border agents to automatically turn away migrants without documentation at the border, even those seeking asylum.

What's Title 8?

"Title 8: Aliens and Nationality" is a section of the U.S. Code that contains all of the country's immigration laws.

Under Title 8, the Biden administration will enforce a new rule that bars some migrants from applying for asylum in the U.S. if they cross the border illegally or fail to first apply for asylum in another country.

Title 8 also includes an "expedited removal" process, which means that migrants who cannot establish a legal basis to remain in the U.S. -  such as showing a credible threat of persecution in their home country - will be expelled.

Those who pass their credible threat interview, though, will be authorized to enter the United States to continue the asylum process.

Legal analyst Dan Eaton points out that seeking asylum in the United States is a very difficult process.

"The fact that more people will attempt to cross the border and enter this country does not mean that substantially more people will ultimately be allowed to remain in the United States after this process is completed," Eaton told CBS 8. 

What happens when Title 42 ends?

Once Title 42 expires on May 11, border officials anticipate that as many as ten thousand migrants a day could cross the border: almost double the daily average just a couple months ago.

Unlike Title 42, those migrants crossing the border after May 11 will at least have the opportunity to try to seek asylum in the United States under federal immigration law, known as Title 8.

"There was no asylum process under Title 42," Eaton pointed out. "They were just returned: period, hard stop."

Under Title 42, there were no consequences for repeated illegal border crossings.

Under Title 8, though, migrants who are expelled could face more serious consequences.

"An individual who is removed is subject to at least a five year ban on admission to the United States and can face criminal prosecution for any subsequent attempt to cross the border illegally," said Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

WATCH RELATED: Hundreds of migrants line up at border west of San Ysidro ahead of Title 42 expiration 

Before You Leave, Check This Out