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Welcome With Dignity: #WelcomeWithDignity Condemns Planned Expansion of Title 42

Washington – The #WelcomeWithDignity campaign for asylum rights condemned reports that the Biden Administration seeks to expand the deadly and ineffective policy known as Title 42 and issued the following response:

“Title 42 is a sham,” said Melina Roche, manager of the #WelcomeWithDignity campaign for asylum rights. “The policy is a de-facto asylum ban with no basis in public health – that’s why the Biden administration and the CDC sought to lift this cruel policy months ago. The administration’s decision to expand Title 42 flies in the face of sound policy making and is an affront to the human and legal right to seek protection. The administration should redouble its efforts to end this Trump-era relic, not expand its harms even further.”

“The Title 42 expulsion policy is a human rights and humanitarian catastrophe that violates our legal obligations towards refugees,” said Robyn Barnard, associate director of refugee advocacy, Human Rights First. “The Biden administration rightfully decided to end the policy earlier this year and should stand by that decision in court and in its actions towards those who come to seek safety at our borders by doing everything it can to halt expulsions of asylum seekers to persecution and torture.”

“We are troubled to learn of reports that the Biden administration is seeking to expel more Venezuelans, Cubans and Nicaraguans under the Title 42 policy,” Naomi Steinberg, HIAS’ Vice President, U.S. Policy & Advocacy said. “The administration has been vocal about wanting to end Title 42, so the proposal to do the opposite, and expand the policy’s impact, is shocking. We urge the administration to reconsider and to stick to its word to end this harmful policy that blocks people from access to a fully functioning and humane asylum system.”

“The Biden administration’s push to expand Title 42 expulsions to include Venezuelans, Cubans, and Nicaraguans is deeply troubling,” said Jennifer Babaie, U.S.-Mexico Border Program Director, International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP). “IRAP and our partners strongly denounce this shameful move by the administration to send migrants seeking safety back to danger.”

“Title 42 is a disgraceful policy, and expanding it is nothing short of cruel,” said Laura St. John, Legal Director at the Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project. “The Biden administration should be doing everything in its power to end this policy, rather than expanding it. Many people fleeing these countries are fleeing severe political violence, and the administration’s efforts to preclude them from even having the opportunity to present their claims is shameful.”

“The United States must end Title 42 permanently,” said Daniel Bloch, Technical Advisor for Asylum and Protection at the International Rescue Committee. “As the Biden Administration appeals harmful court orders that keep this policy in place, it cannot take actions that might put asylum seekers at risk. Title 42 violates U.S. law and international treaty obligations by expelling children, families, and adults seeking asylum to persecution, torture, and other serious danger. There is no public health rationale for denying people their legal right to claim asylum at the U.S. border. Mexico was already the third highest receiver of asylum claims globally in 2021, and this proposal would further strain an overstretched asylum system. Any efforts that might subject more people to Title 42 must stop.”

“We must meet our moral obligation to refugees and migrants, those fleeing violence and repression. The administration should not expand Title 42, continuing to use it as a pretext for expulsions,” said Pablo DeJesús, Executive Director, Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice. “Reporting that Mexico is being pressed to take more migrants from Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela under Title 42 is disappointing and troubling. Unitarian Universalists stand in opposition to this policy as a matter of our faith’s call to respect the inherent worth and dignity of every person. The administration should end Title 42, not perpetuate its use.”

“The issuance of Title 42 was a disgraceful moment in United States history and a slam in the face of asylum seekers who are escaping from injustice in their countries. The Biden Administration must end it, not look for ways to expand it,” said Ali Aljundi, Membership Engagement and Leadership Development at Refugee Congress.

“We are deeply concerned and disappointed by the news that President Biden is considering an expansion of Title 42, a harmful policy that has put asylum-seeking children and families at risk of unnecessary danger for far too long. Medical experts and President Biden’s own CDC leadership have stated that Title 42 does not protect public health,” said Christy Gleason, Vice President of Policy, Advocacy and Campaigns at Save the Children. “There is no reason to continue using this horrible and inhumane policy as a stopgap for real immigration reform. We call on the Biden administration and Congress to end this policy immediately and instead create a humane system for processing asylum claims for all who seek safe haven in our country.”

“It is beyond belief to learn that the administration wants to double down on using Title 42,” said Katharina Obser, Director of the Migrant Rights and Justice program at the Women’s Refugee Commission. “The administration’s efforts to expel even more migrants not only undermines the right to seek asylum, as guaranteed under U.S. law, but also betrays the administration’s own decision earlier this year to end this cruel Trump-era legacy. We urge the administration to immediately reverse course and do right by those who have so long been blocked from lawfully seeking protection at U.S. borders. Women’s Refugee Commission continues to stand ready to work with the administration to rebuild a just and humane U.S. asylum system.”

“Expanding Title 42 to include Venezuelans, Cubans, and Nicaraguans is not a step in the right direction. No asylum-seeking person or family should be forced to return to the dangerous conditions from which they fled without a hearing. Title 42 is not, and never has been, a public safety measure. It is a cruel, dangerous Trump policy that should be ended for all children and all adults. There is no justification for putting asylum seekers in harm’s way. America’s moms know that families belong together. We want every immigrant and every asylum-seeker treated with dignity, compassion and respect.” said Claudia Tristán, Immigration Director at MomsRising.

“It is perplexing to learn that the Biden administration is quietly seeking to expand Title 42’s scope, at the same time that it claims to be fighting in the federal courts for the right to end Title 42,” said Adam Isacson, Director for Defense Oversight at the Washington Office on Latin America. “We can’t afford this incoherence at a time when the right to asylum, and thousands of human lives, are at stake. Mexican border cities are already overwhelmed, with spiking violent crime rates and over 55,000 people already on asylum waitlists. Adding tens of thousands more people fleeing Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela will worsen the misery. We need the real Biden administration to stand up here.”

The #WelcomeWithDignity Campaign for asylum rights is composed of more than 100 national and regional organizations committed to transforming the way the United States receives and protects people forced to flee their homes to ensure they are treated humanely and fairly. To learn more and join our campaign visit: welcomewithdignity.org.