Washington, D.C. –Today, KIND participated in a press call hosted by the Immigration Hub with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senator Bob Menendez, U.S. Representative Nanette Diaz Barragán, and other immigration and children’s experts to urge President Biden to fully restore access to asylum and revoke Title 42.
The press call came days after recent dueling court decisions that underscore the need for President Biden to end Title 42 – in one, a federal judge in Texas ordered the Biden Administration to resume the inhumane practice of expelling unaccompanied children, jeopardizing their lives and health. In the other, the D.C. Circuit Court ruled that the Department of Homeland security cannot expel or return people to countries where they are likely to suffer torture or persecution using Title 42.
As America seeks to welcome and aid refugees from Ukraine, it must also look at its own treatment of migrants at our borders. Title 42 has disproportionately impacted Black migrants and refugees, including Haitian asylum seekers, who have been denied and deported back to dangerous conditions.
“Title 42 has been nothing short of disastrous for immigrant families seeking asylum from the horrors in their home countries,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. “We shouldn’t forget how this policy originated – it was a cynical effort by the Trump administration to use the pandemic as justification for expelling vulnerable migrants seeking refuge in this country. And now, more than a year since the Biden administration took office, it’s unacceptable that this policy continues to be used indiscriminately to remove migrants with valid refugee claims from our Southern border. President Biden must fulfill his promise to fully restore our refugee laws, bring order to the border, and stop the use of Title 42 to justify these deportations.”
“As our nation recovers from the pandemic, it is far past time to restore access to legal and life-saving asylum at our borders,” said U.S. Senator Bob Menendez. “The continued use of Title 42 to expel migrants without protection screenings, in my view, has created life threatening conditions and significantly increased the number of dangerous border crossings. In many cases it has also increased the public health risk that the order claims to address. It is neither humane nor effective in managing migration. As the world faces historic refugee and migration challenges, it’s critical that the United States upholds its legal commitment to provide access to asylum processing for those fleeing violence and persecution. Continuing to defend Title 42 in court will only cause more harm.”
“It’s past time to end the administration’s use of Title 42. This is a Trump era policy and it’s not keeping COVID-19 out of the United States. Public health experts have been denouncing this policy since it was first implemented,” said U.S. Representative Nanette Diaz Barragán. “We must restore access to asylum at our borders. The administration promised to build a system that was more humane and treats migrants fairly…We must do better. I implore the Biden administration to end Title 42. Let’s not put any more children and families at risk.”
“The consequences of Title 42 have been tragic,” said Sergio Gonzales, Executive Director, Immigration Hub. “Those seeking safety have been summarily turned away without so much as a process to make a claim for asylum. President Biden came into office committing to a more fair, humane and functional immigration system. And we applaud some of his initial efforts to do just that. But Title 42 remains a stain on his legacy and administration. We cannot with one hand urge a compassionate and robust response to Ukraine’s refugees while continuing the inhumane treatment of mostly Black and brown refugees at our southern border.”
“In April of 2020, Haitian Bridge Alliance started calling on former president, Donald J. Trump, to end Title 42. Now, almost two years later, President Biden and his administration are continuing to use this cruel and draconian policy to deny asylum seekers their right to seek asylum,” said Guerline Jozef, Executive Director, Haitian Bridge Alliance. “Mainly utilizing this policy, the administration has sent over 20,500 people, including families, pregnant women, and infants as young as nine-days-old to Haiti. As the Haitian Community in Tijuana is getting ready to bury yet another young life lost in Tijuana, Mexico, due to this policy, it is clear that the Biden-Harris administration is not keeping their promise of an immigration system free from racism, bias, and harm. Given that, we are again calling for the end of this Trump-era policy and swift protection to all people seeking protection for all, including Ukrainians, Haitians, Cameroonians and Central Americans. Protection delayed is protection denied.”
“For a nation that has traditionally welcomed refugees and asylum seekers, Title 42 is an affront to the notion of protection at U.S. borders,” said Maria Odom, Senior Vice President for Legal Programs, Kids in Need of Defense (KIND). “KIND has seen first-hand the impact of Title 42 on the most vulnerable: terrified children separated from their families desperate for help and care. Mandating that unaccompanied children be subject to a policy that has led to widespread suffering and desperation, and even death, is not only shockingly cruel, but takes the United States further down a reprehensible road and denigrates the nation. The only acceptable action is for the Biden Administration to end Title 42 for all.”
“From the start, we have argued that Title 42 is unlawful and every court to consider the matter has now agreed,” said ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt, who argued the Title 42 Huisha appeal in the D.C. Circuit. “Title 42 has caused horrific harm and it is time the Biden administration did what is right, not political, and end this policy once and for all.”
“It is time for the Biden administration to end Title 42, uphold refugee law, and restart asylum, once and for all,” said Melina Roche, #WelcomeWithDignity Campaign Manager. “This is why today #WelcomeWithDigity led over 300 organizations that represent refugees and migrants, faith communities, medical professionals, refugee resettlement agencies, humanitarian service providers, legal and direct service providers, and labor, civil, immigrant, and human rights advocates in the United States and across the Americas in delivering a letter to President Biden and Vice President Harris to immediately end the use of Title 42 expulsions. Our campaign stands ready to offer solutions and engage with the administration in protecting the rights and ensuring a dignified process for those seeking asylum.”
Media Contact: Megan McKenna, email@example.com, 202-631-9990