The federal government confirmed the death of a 17-year-old Honduran migrant as the number of migrants attempting to enter the country sharply increased due to the end of Title 42, a significant immigration control.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a statement regarding the death of Ángel Eduardo Maradiaga Espinoza at a shelter in Florida. The statement read that the agency “is deeply saddened by this tragic loss.”
Honduras called for an investigation into the minor’s death.
HHS announced that it would review “all clinical details of this case” and that a “medical examiner investigation is underway.”
However, due to “privacy and safety reasons,” HHS would not reveal any more information at this time.
The death’s announcement comes on the heels of the end of Title 42.
The pandemic-era policy was enacted by former President Donald Trump, empowering law enforcement to remove migrants more quickly. The policy helped reduce the number of border crossings during the Trump administration to historic lows.
Here is a Venezuelan man who was released this morning after crossing illegally who is all smiles and tells us the end of Title 42 wasn’t an issue for him.
“My message is, it doesn’t matter, you can make it [to the US].” pic.twitter.com/3RpUy4SrMx
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) May 12, 2023
The Biden White House decision to end the policy has been criticized by Republicans and more than a few Democrats.
Several Democrats who criticized then-president Trump for Title 42’s use are now calling for its extension.
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) signed onto a letter criticizing the end of the program, calling the Biden administration’s actions a “blatant disregard for Congress’ explicit directions for how the federal government should process and adjudicate the cases of asylum seekers.”
Furthermore, two major efforts are attempting to reverse President Joe Biden’s border policies. A bipartisan group of senators co-sponsored an effort to reenact Title 42 for the next two years.
These include Republicans such as Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), but also Brown, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT). All three of the Democrats are up for election in 2024.
In the House, Republicans passed the Secure the Border Act. The bill would force the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to continue building the border wall started during Trump’s tenure. The bill would also limit the ability of asylum seekers to enter the United States.
The end of the policy sparked a new wave of migrants at the southern border, which Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) estimates to be about 60,000. Some estimates of migrants crossing into the country due to the policy’s end are as high as 13,000 per day.