Rational Middle Podcast Calls for Sensible Border Solutions to Handle Increasing Migration Flows

A recent episode of the Rational Middle of Immigration Podcast discussed the need for solutions to manage flows of migration at the southern border and the use of Title 42 by the Biden Administration to "kick the can down the road." Speakers called for sensible solutions to improve safety and order at the border and highlighted a new form of parole that is allowing certain asylum seekers to enter the US if they have a US sponsor that provides two years of housing and additional support. 

Rational Middle Podcast host Chris Lyons spoke with Marshall Fitz, Managing Director of Immigration for the Emerson Collective, on immigration challenges that the US is facing. Fitz said that regardless of what policies the US implements, it can expect to see increased migration flows to the US from Central and South America.

"Historic numbers of people have been forcibly displaced from their homes around the globe due to conflict, violence, human rights violations, and additional drivers. This year we passed the 100 million mark globally, more than twice the number of displaced people 10 years ago. So the number of displaced people is rapidly increasing," said Fitz. 

In the Western Hemisphere we are also seeing unprecedented migration flows which were reflected in the record number of encounters at our southern border in the last year...The number of encounters in FY 2022 set a pretty stunning new mark of 2.4 million people. Those new realities of this really accelerating global migration, and the failed response of individual nations and the international community to manage those flows in a humane and orderly way, highlight the imperative of building new frameworks and strategies that recognize that in the decades to come we're going to be seeing historic numbers of people on the move that probably dwarf the numbers we're seeing right now," he added. 

The speakers also discussed Title 42, and how it has been used most recently by the Biden Administration to expel migrants showing up in increasing numbers from the Venezuela, where conditions under the socialist dictator Maduro are becoming increasingly dire and more than 90% of households live in poverty. 

"Title 42 allows the government to immediately expel people who are trying to enter the US during a public health emergency... and prevents people from being able to apply for asylum... It was invoked two and a half years ago and since then more than 2 million people have been expelled under this rule without any chance to contest that decision... It has become a border expulsion mechanism rather than a means for protecting the nation's health," explained Fitz.  

For Venezuelans who cannot be sent back to their home country, the US has worked out an agreement to send them to Mexico. 

"Basically, it transformed a process in which people had presented themselves at the border, requested asylum, and been admitted while their asylum cases go forward, to one where they are immediately being returned back to Mexico," said Fitz.

Fitz stressed that Title 42 is being used like a band-aid, and that more resources need to be allocated to the border and immigration system to manage flows in a more orderly and humane way. 

"There are historic numbers of people arriving at our borders and we don't have the infrastructure, policies, or resources to process them in a safe, orderly, and humane way. We need to build that muscle and build that infrastructure... Much more needs to be done than simply relying on a tool like Title 42," he said.

On the other hand, Fitz applauded the Biden Administration's implementation of a humanitarian parole program that creates a new legal pathway for a small number of Venezuelans to migrate to the US in a more orderly way if they have a US based sponsor who will provide them housing and other support for two years and if they arrive to the US at an airport. 

To better manage the border, lawmakers will have to work together to pass bipartisan legislation that increases and improves resources at the border and that creates more orderly pathways for migrants to enter the US legally. If managed well, migration presents an economic opportunity for the US, especially when workforce shortages are near an all-time high and one of top driving factors of inflation. 

Learn more about these issues from the latest episode of the Rational Middle Podcast: Marshall Fitz and Title 42 Challenges below. Also check out the free Rational Middle of Immigration Video Docuseries that examines more issues associated with the US immigration system.​


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