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As Title 42 Ends, the Women’s Refugee Commission Denounces New Asylum Ban

Washington, D.C. – Tomorrow, with the expiration of the national COVID-19 public health emergency, the Title 42 Order will no longer be in effect. For more than three years, Title 42 was used to summarily expel individuals to Mexico or to the country they fled, without the opportunity to apply for asylum in the United States. When Title 42 lifts, new barriers to asylum access will go into effect, per the Biden administration’s new regulation.

In response, Katharina Obser, director of the Migrant Rights and Justice program at the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC), stated:

“The end of Title 42 should have been a celebratory moment. For the last two years, when the United States should have restored practices to welcome the most vulnerable, the Biden administration instead expelled them to danger and harm – contrary to U.S. and international law – and created chaos at the U.S.-Mexico border. People seeking safety should never be penalized or placed right back into the life-threatening situations they were trying to escape.

“Yet in anticipation of Title 42’s end, the Biden administration today released a final rule that will bar asylum for nearly all individuals, including individuals who do not secure a CBP One appointment at a port of entry and those who were not first rejected for asylum in another country they traveled through prior to arriving in the United States. WRC has made clear that replacing Title 42 with these new barriers violates U.S. law and treaty obligations, contradicts the administration’s long-stated regional migration objectives, strains asylum systems in the region, and harms women, children, and other vulnerable populations. Moreover, and perhaps most importantly, these restrictive measures will not stop those in need of safety from fleeing their homes and seeking protection. As we have documented time and again, people do not make the decision to uproot their families lightly or based on the policies of any one country, but because they feel they have no other choice left but to seek safety for their families and children.

“Today’s rule comes as part of a broader set of measures recently announced by the Biden administration to manage regional migration and those seeking protection at the U.S.-Mexico border. Measures that allow more people to safely reunite with their families and seek protection without making a dangerous journey north can and should be part of a comprehensive response to regional migration and displacement, and we call on the administration to move quickly to implement these expanded and new programs. But as we said then, such steps cannot come at the expense of a robust, dignified, and fair asylum process at U.S. borders.

“We call on the Biden administration and Congress to once and for all reject anti-asylum policies and instead invest in the orderly reception of people exercising their legal right to seek safety. We stand ready to work with the administration to create the fair and dignified asylum system that is long overdue.”