On Friday, April 1, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) formally terminated the Title 42 order that the previous two U.S. presidential administrations have used to expel asylum-seekers from the border without a hearing. UUSC’s Vice President and Lead Program Officer Rachel Gore Freed issued the following response:
“This decision was made possible by the communities, advocates, and directly-impacted people at the border who refused to accept the denial of their rights or look away from injustice. For nearly every day of the more than two years that this order has been in effect, advocates, asylum-seekers, UUSC partners, staff, and supporters have urged the U.S. government to immediately halt expulsions and fully restore asylum access at our borders.
“Families have endured this violation of their human rights for too long. Thousands of people have suffered violence at the border, and countless people have been denied their internationally-protected right to seek asylum. We remain concerned that the CDC’s termination does not take effect until May 23 because during that time, hundreds more people may suffer violence or be summarily expelled to danger. A clear solution would be for the government to immediately halt expulsions.
“We call on President Biden and his cabinet to:
- Stop all expulsions immediately under this authority, including flights to Haiti or other non-contiguous countries.
- Restore asylum access at ports of entry and begin processing people’s claims for humanitarian protection in accordance with U.S. and international law. This processing must be conducted in a way that respects people’s legal and inherent rights, rather than relying on carceral methods or otherwise violating people’s freedom and dignity.
- Transform policy towards migrant rights and refrain from simply replacing Title 42 by enrolling more people in the similarly harmful “Remain in Mexico” program.
“An end to Title 42 is far from the only thing we need to bring real humanity and decency to the U.S. immigration system. It is only the beginning. Reversing this one extraordinarily heinous Trump policy should have happened the moment Biden took office. Instead, asylum-seekers had to wait more than a year for this decision—and now are being told to wait even two months longer for it to take effect. The administration must rectify this not only by restoring asylum, but also by taking steps to improve the underlying immigration system, including by scaling back and ultimately ending immigration detention.
“Today’s news comes as a relief and is a moment to celebrate the power of a faithful and committed migrant justice movement. Our work continues to support people to fully be able to access their asylum rights at U.S. borders—without discrimination or indignity—as law and justice demand.”