Biden administration considers detainment of illegal immigrants as Title 42 nears its end

The government’s COVID-19 public health emergency known as Title 42 is expected to end in May, and when it does, many are worried it will encourage a surge of people trying to cross the border illegally.

Because of this, the Biden administration is considering reversing his decision and allowing migrant families to be detained.

Detention is one of several ideas under discussion, but nothing has been finalized yet. President Joe Biden shut down the practice two years ago because he wanted a more humane immigration system. 

For now, the idea of bringing it back is drawing a lot of mixed reactions in Arizona.

MORE: Yuma hospital spent $26M last year treating migrant patients: 'They have no ability to pay'

Pinal Country Sheriff Mark Lamb wishes the Biden administration would focus its attention on other issues facing our border, saying, "First thought is, this is politics."

He adds, "You know, here he is talking about families. Families aren't the issue we are having. We are having issues with a lot of single people trying to cross into this country."

The Biden administration is considering detaining migrant families who cross into the U.S. illegally, and this would be a major reversal after officials in late 2021 stopped holding families in detention facilities.

MORE: Mexico wanted 1st degree murder charges for Arizona rancher

Under current policy, families are released into the U.S. and told to appear in immigration court at a later date. During the height of the pandemic, few families were actually held, and now those facilities are holding mainly single adults.

Lamb says he’s not so worried about the families, but rather our biggest issue, which is says are the cartels.

"This is not about immigration. This is about human trafficking and drug trafficking into America," Lamb says. "He should be talking about what are we going to do with all these single people that are coming across as well. Family units comprise a very small percentage of what’s coming into America, especially to the Arizona border."

If families are detained, officials say it would be for short periods of time, possibly just a few days, and their cases would be expedited through immigration courts.

RELATED: Border security remains top of mind for Arizona leaders: 'We want to take real action'

Immigration attorneys say the journey to America and being detained can be traumatic, especially for the children.

"When both sides are arguing and yelling at you, you are just looking for any sort of relief, so I think that is what the administration is pondering this," says Salvador Macias, an immigration lawyer with Nunez Law Firm. "I do hope they find a better alternative for these children."