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Border Patrol told to consider exempting Ukrainians at southern border from Title 42 restrictions: report

Border Patrol agents have reportedly been told to consider exempting Ukrainians encountered at the southern border from Title 42 restrictions that are being used to quickly expel migrants — the latest immigration measure put in place for Ukrainians amid the ongoing Russian invasion.

In a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) memo, reported by CBS News, officials say that “the unjustified Russian war of aggression in Ukraine has created a humanitarian crisis.”


“CBP is authorized, consistent with the Title 42 Order, on a case-by-case basis based on the totality of the circumstances, including considerations of humanitarian interests, to except Ukrainian nationals at land border ports of entry from Title 42,” the memo reportedly says.

Title 42 public health protections were enacted by the Trump administration in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) order allows for the rapid expulsion of migrants, often within minutes and without detention, at the border. 

The Biden administration has largely continued the use of the order, with some additional exemptions — including for unaccompanied children. While officials in both administrations claimed it was a public health order, not an immigration order, it has been used by both administrations as a critical tool in stopping migration, to the chagrin of top Democrats and immigration advocates — who have called on the Biden administration to abolish it completely.

The guidance issued to agents allows exceptions for Ukrainians who are in possession of valid Ukrainian ID and are not deemed national security or public safety threats. There were 272 encounters with Ukrainians at the border in February, according to CBP, compared to 19 in Feb. 2021. There have so far been 1,301 encounters since October.

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas gestures as he answers a question during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing to discuss security threats 20 years after the 9/11 attacks, in Washington, D.C., September 21, 2021.

It’s the latest immigration move related to the Ukrainian crisis by the administration. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) suspended deportation flights to Ukraine earlier this month.

DHS did not respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment on the reported memo.

Days later, the Department of Homeland Security announced that Ukraine will be designated for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months. TPS protects nationals of designated countries living in the U.S. from deportation if they are eligible and allows them to apply for work permits and to travel freely.

DHS said the designation was based on “both ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions in Ukraine that prevent Ukrainian nationals and those of no nationality who last habitually resided in Ukraine from returning to Ukraine safely.” 

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