In recent months, there has been increased focus on immigration trends and the evolving landscape of immigration policies, amid increasing immigration activity at the U.S.-Mexico border. In 2021, there were 20.8 million noncitizens and 23.9 million naturalized citizens residing in the U.S., who accounted for about 6% and 7% of the total population, respectively. Noncitizens include lawfully present and undocumented immigrants. Many individuals live in mixed immigration status families that may include lawfully present immigrants, undocumented immigrants, and/or citizens, including the one in four children who have an immigrant parent. Over the last two years, there has been a surge in immigration activity at the border, with over 2 million encounters at the U.S.-Mexico border in 2022. Against this backdrop, there have been ongoing changes to several key immigration policies. reflecting actions by the Biden Administration and court rulings.
This issue brief provides the latest update on some key evolving immigration policies, including Title 42 as it applies to border enforcement, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and the public charge rule and discusses the implications of these policies for the health and well-being of immigrants.
Title 42 of the Public Health Services Act is a public health authority that authorizes the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to suspend entry of individuals into the U.S. to protect public health. This authority was implemented by the Trump Administration in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to allow for quick expulsion of migrants, including asylum seekers, seeking entry into the U.S. at the land borders. After taking office, the Biden Administration continued to enforce Title 42, with new exceptions provided to unaccompanied minors, but announced plans to end the suspension of entry in 2022. However, due to ongoing court challenges, the policy will remain in place until at least February 2023, when the Supreme Court hears arguments on whether a groups of states, including Texas, can challenge a lower court ruling that it be lifted.