Federal law allows border officers to exclude migrants because of the Title 42 emergency rules for the coronavirus epidemic.
But Mayorkas spotlighted some of the Title 42 exceptions that he grants — including the little-known exception for people who claim to be afraid of torture in their home country.
Number one [exception] is if an individual has an acute vulnerability, such as an urgent medical care. And [number] two, if, in fact, our operational capacity is such that we are not able to execute the Title 42 authority … I should also say that there is a [third] Convention Against Torture exception if someone claims torture.
In case any cellphone-linked migrants do not hear the torture exception, Mayorkas repeated it:
If someone is not subject to Title 42 expulsion for the three reasons that I explained — acute vulnerability, operational capacity limitations, or a Convention Against Torture exception — then the individual is placed in immigration proceedings. That means they [can stay and work in the United States] until [they] go before an immigration judge in an immigration court.
Mayorkas’ advice will be a useful guide to the many economic migrants from Chile, Brazil, and other stable countries who are trying to get Americans’ jobs and housing.
Under Mayorkas, migrants do not need to persuade a judge that their fear of torture is true. Merely making the claim to Mayorkas’s officers gives them the opportunity to walk through the Title 42 barrier, get jobs, and stay in the United States.
Once in the United States, migrants also do not need to persuade the judge that their claim is valid because Mayorkas has barred enforcement officers from deporting migrants who do not commit violent crimes.