Poll: Most in U.S. oppose ending public health order used to expel migrants

June 2, 2022 – Most Americans oppose a Biden administration decision—blocked by a federal judge on May 20—to end a public health order that has been used to expel migrants at the U.S. border to stop the spread of COVID-19, according to a new poll from POLITICO and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The poll found that 55% of American adults oppose ending the use of the order, known as Title 42, while 45% think the order should end, according to a May 22 POLITICO article.

The findings suggest that individuals’ support for maintaining the order is related to both their attitude toward immigration and their political affiliation. Among those who oppose ending the order, most said they think there should be less immigration in the U.S., and most are Republican.

Title 42 was first enacted in March 2020. Since then, more than 1.7 million migrants have been expelled under the policy. The Biden administration had planned to end the order because of improved public health conditions and the availability of vaccines and treatments.

But critics mounted a legal challenge, arguing that the U.S. wasn’t prepared for the influx of migrants expected if the order were lifted.

Pollster Robert Blendon, Richard L. Menschel Professor of Public Health and Professor of Health Policy and Political Analysis, Emeritus, said the fact that so many Americans support using a public health order to stop migrants from entering the U.S. reflects lawmakers’ failure to address immigration reform.

“They’re taking something used to control epidemics and are fighting for it because they know there’s no way to reach an agreement over immigration,” he told POLITICO. “Congress can’t agree what to do, and they’re using it as a fig leaf, a public health emergency measure.”

Read the POLITICO article: POLITICO-Harvard poll: Majority of Americans support continued migrant expulsions under Title 42