On Title 42’s Two-Year Anniversary, Advocates Urge Biden to End Illegal Expulsions

March 21, 2022 11:45 am

Media Contact
125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
United States

WASHINGTON — On the two-year anniversary of Title 42, groups challenging expulsions of asylum-seeking families urge the Biden administration to end the deadly policy. Earlier this month, the groups won a major victory in their class action lawsuit Huisha-Huisha v. Mayorkas, with the D.C. Circuit prohibiting Title 42 expulsions of families to persecution or torture. Though it has not yet taken effect, the court’s decision made it clear that it is illegal for the government to expel people to places where they would face persecution or torture under the guise of public health.

Numerous public health experts, immigrant and civil rights leaders, and members of Congress have since come out in full force, urging the administration to abandon Title 42 and establish a fair and humane asylum process at the southern border. Yet the Biden administration has continued to implement Title 42, imperiling the lives of vulnerable families, children, and adults. On this inauspicious anniversary, asylum seekers stranded in Mexico, along with allies across the United States, are mobilizing to demand that the administration end Title 42 once and for all. As litigators and human rights advocates, we join them.

The following comments are from:

Lee Gelernt, the American Civil Liberties Union’s lead attorney in the Title 42 challenge:

“Title 42 was a horrific Trump administration scheme to keep out asylum seekers. Two years in, Title 42 is still causing grave harm. Every court to consider the policy has ruled it unlawful, and there is no justification to keep it in place. The Biden administration should not shy away from doing what is right and finally end Title 42.”

Neela Chakravartula, managing attorney at the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS):

“Since its inception, Title 42 has been as illegal as it is cruel. Earlier this month, an appeals court handed down a decision in our class action lawsuit which affirmed what we know to be true: Expelling asylum seekers to places where they face persecution or torture violates our laws and treaty obligations. The Biden administration knows this. The administration also knows that every day Title 42 remains intact, Black and brown families, children, and adults are placed in harm’s way. Two years of Title 42 is two years too long. It is beyond time for the Biden administration to end its racist Title 42 policy, restart asylum at the border, and welcome all people seeking safety with dignity.”

Noah Gottschalk, global policy lead at Oxfam America:

“For the past two years, hundreds of thousands of people seeking asylum were illegally sent back into harm’s way using a policy called Title 42. This policy, rooted in racism and cynical political calculations, unjustly inflicts harm and baselessly scapegoats asylum seekers, particularly Black immigrants, for the spread of COVID. Imagine being forced to flee your home because of trauma, violence, and persecution, embarking on a dangerous journey to the United States in the hopes of safety and protection, only to be denied any legal due process and sent back into harm’s way.”

“Make no mistake: as public health experts, former CDC officials, and Dr. Fauci himself have already confirmed, Title 42 isn’t necessary to protect public health. This Trump-era policy and Biden-era legacy must not continue any longer, and we will continue to hold this administration accountable until it ends Title 42 once and for all.”

Tami Goodlette, director of litigation at RAICES:

“President Biden promised to restore our asylum system when he took office, yet he is still perpetuating and defending Title 42, Trump’s sham health order that shuts out asylum seekers at the border. For President Biden, apparently showing bipartisanship means continuing to undermine the internationally protected right of thousands of migrants to seek safety in the U.S.”

“Last year, our coalition sued the Biden administration for continuing Trump’s perverse and unlawful use of Title 42 – and we won twice. Yet despite two court decisions and the guidance of public health experts who have repeatedly made clear that Title 42 has nothing to do with public health, the cruel and racist promulgation of this provision continues to supercharge expulsions of migrants, many from Black majority nations, at the border.”

“Last week, the Biden Administration rolled back Title 42 as it applies to unaccompanied minors, a small step in the right direction but not nearly enough. The Biden administration must end Title 42 for all immigrants and asylum seekers. The facts and the science are clear, and it’s time for President Biden to live up to his promise to restore our asylum system and put an end to this cruel and racist policy.”

Karla Marisol Vargas, senior attorney at Texas Civil Rights Project:

“Title 42 was never about public health. It was always about keeping primarily Black, Indigenous, and Brown individuals outside of the U.S. President Biden knew this when he inherited this policy, and yet today we are coming up on the second anniversary of this racist, harmful rule.”

“For two years, Title 42 has directly placed people in harm’s way – despite public health experts and human rights advocates calling for it to end and despite our successful legal challenges in the courts. Throughout these two years, Title 42 has inflicted incredible harm to the thousands of human beings that our government summarily kicked out of the U.S. – without allowing these individuals the right to access the type of help that our U.S. laws have afforded them.”

“The administration should finally do the right thing by ending this policy before any additional lives are put in danger by Title 42, but if they fail to do so, we will continue to fight for justice until individuals seeking safety are welcomed with dignity.”

Sign up to be the first to hear about how to take action.