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The Biden administration is planning to end a pandemic-era emergency rule known as Title 42 that allows U.S. immigration authorities to quickly expel migrants and asylum-seekers in late May, several people familiar with the plans told CBS News, describing what would be a major shift in U.S. border policy.

The preliminary decision to gradually discontinue the restriction comes after two federal court rulings in early March dealt a major blow to the Biden administration’s plan to retain the expulsions, which began in March 2020 under former President Donald Trump. 

Citing the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Title 42 directives, U.S. immigration officials have carried out over 1.7 million expulsions of migrants in the past two years, 70% of them under President Biden, who retained the policy despite reversing other Trump border initiatives. Named for a 1940s public health law, the authority allows U.S. border officials to quickly expel migrants without allowing them to apply for asylum.

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Since August 2021, the CDC has been charged with reviewing Title 42 every 60 days to determine its continued necessity. The latest reassessment was due Wednesday. CDC spokesperson Kristen Nordlund said the agency was still working on the review and would “release more information later this week.”

High-profile Democratic allies of the president, including Senate Majority Chuck Schumer, had been calling on the administration to stop the Title 42 expulsions, citing the relaxation of other pandemic-related restrictions.   

Republican lawmakers and some centrist Democrats, however, had urged the administration to continue the expulsions, saying Title 42’s rescission could trigger a sharp increase in migrant arrivals that would overwhelm U.S. border authorities and their processing capacity.

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Camilo Montoya-GalvezCamilo Montoya-Galvez is the immigration reporter at CBS News. Based in Washington, he covers immigration policy and politics.