The Trump administration has been looking at ways to turn migrants away at the border for three years, now it looks like they found a way. The Associated Press reports, “The Trump administration is relying on a seldom-used public health law to set aside decades-old national and international immigration laws. People seeking refuge in the U.S. are whisked to the nearest border crossing and returned to Mexico without a chance to apply for asylum.”

According to the Customs and Border Protection website:

On March 21, 2020 the President, in accordance with Title 42 of the United States Code Section 265, determined that by reason of existence of COVID-19 in Mexico and Canada, there is a serious danger of the further introduction of COVID-19 into the United States; that prohibition on the introduction of persons or property, in whole or in part, from Mexico and Canada is required in the interest of public health. 

Since that date, 10,000 Mexicans and Central Americans have been instantly “expelled.”

The Washington Post cites officials who say, “CBP has fewer than 100 detainees in custody, down from nearly 20,000 at this time last year during the border crisis”:

Since the implementation of the rapid expulsions, unlawful border crossings have dropped 56 percent, said acting CBP commissioner Mark Morgan. Morgan also acknowledged that the United States has all but closed its borders to asylum seekers who are fleeing persecution, including those who attempt to enter legally at U.S. ports of entry.

“Those who are undocumented or don’t have documents or authorization are turned away,” Morgan said.

ProPublica first reported this news last week, though it was only confirmed today through the government.