Some current immigration policies mirror those of the 1990s. Today, migrants can be deported without an asylum hearing under Title 42, a law used by Presidents Trump and Biden to speed deportations during a public health crisis. Title 42 mirrors a 1987 ban on H.I.V.-positive visitors and immigrants that was used to justify the detention of asylum seekers in Guantanamo. Earlier this month, a federal judge ruled that families cannot be immediately expelled under Title 42, a decision the Biden administration is appealing.

In the 90s, the government argued that asylum rights did not apply at Guantanamo Bay because it was outside of U.S. territory. More recently, Trump-era immigration laws barred asylum seekers from entering the U.S. Those laws, known informally as the Remain in Mexico program, require migrants at the southern border to wait in Mexico while their asylum claims are processed. President Biden ended Remain in Mexico, in part because many migrants faced physical danger. But in August the Supreme Court ordered the program reinstated while a challenge moves through the courts.

HARRISON TREMARELLO, an intern at Retro Report, is a video and multimedia reporting student in the journalism and political science programs at Northwestern. This article first appeared in Retro Report’s free weekly newsletter. Subscribe and receive lessons from history in your mailbox. Follow us on Twitter @RetroReport.