“The Title 42 order has resulted in the expulsions of hundreds of thousands of people to Mexico or their countries of origin, denying their access to asylum procedures,” U.N. commissioner Filippo Grandi said last month, with deportation of asylum-seekers resulting in “serious humanitarian consequences in northern Mexico.”
“Today in a Juárez shelter I met a Honduran woman who was kidnapped and beaten for 2 months with her young son immediately after the US expelled her under title 42,” tweeted Human Rights First fellow Julie Neusner. “Last week she injured her leg when they barely escaped. They’re still trapped in danger in Mexico.” Under ongoing litigation, the Biden administration last month agreed to exclude a trickle of asylum-seekers from the policy, a move the U.N. commissioner called “not an adequate response.”
”We at UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, have maintained since the start of the pandemic that protecting public health and protecting access to asylum, a fundamental human right, are fully compatible,” Grandi continued. “At the height of the public health emergency, many countries put in place protocols such as health screening, testing and quarantine measures, to simultaneously protect both public health and the right to seek asylum.”
Reporting from the Associated Press has already revealed that CDC officials under the previous administration at first refused to support the order, citing no valid public health reason to do so. But then-director Robert Redfield was eventually bullied into it by former Vice President Mike Pence, who in turn had been bullied by former White House aide and noted white supremacist Stephen Miller. By continuing to keep Title 42 in place, the Biden administration is effectively allowing Miller to continue dictating U.S. asylum policy.
The Times claimed that phasing out Title 42, “while still not final, is sure to complicate an already thorny issue for President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, who is visiting the border on Friday as Republicans accuse the administration of being slow to address what they describe as an unrelenting surge of migrants trying to enter the country. Lifting the rule will only exacerbate that.” Oh look, Republicans got their talking points in. The truth is that if we based every immigration decision on whether it would piss off Republicans, or whether they’d try to use it against Democrats, there’d sure be a whole lot of nothing on immigration going on.
Title 42 has always been bunk and it continues to be bunk, and continuing to cruelly deport vulnerable people in violation of their asylum rights simply because some believe getting rid of a despicable policy might somehow look bad is just disgraceful. But Gabe, you might want to tell me, the Biden administration wants to allow in asylum-seekers, but COVID-19 really is a risk, and there’s probably capacity issues thanks to the last guy! But the Biden administration is already testing people it’s letting in, and asylum-seekers usually have a relative or other sponsor already here in the U.S., and where they go shelter, if we would just let them.
“The administration doesn’t get to pick and choose when and whether to uphold their international and domestic legal obligations to people seeking asylum,” tweeted the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee’s Joshua Leach in response to The Times’ report. “#EndTitle42. Not weeks from now. Not months from now. Now.”