Title 42: Bringing Back Asylum and the Challenges Ahead

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Author: Yadira Sánchez-Esparza

The Title 42 border order, implemented in March 2020 under the Trump Administration but continued by President Biden, has led to 1.7 million expulsions of migrants and asylum seekers to countries like Mexico, Haiti, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Colombia, and Brazil. Together with you, LAWG has advocated for the end of this policy through petitions, congressional letters, and in-person actions in Washington D.C. and across the country. We’ve raised our voices to end this policy alongside hundreds of other NGOs, public health experts, and members of Congress, including Democratic leadership, because we know the human suffering that this policy has caused. Human rights organizations have documented nearly ten thousand instances of people being kidnapped, tortured, sexually assaulted, and murdered as they were denied access to seek asylum at the border as a result of Title 42, including families with small children and vulnerable people fleeing violence and persecution. This policy also has a disproportionate impact on Black people seeking asylum, especially Haitians.

Our joint actions and hard work to speak out against Title 42 finally had an impact! On April 1, 2022, we welcomed the announcement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to end the Title 42 border order on May 23, 2022. 

But our fight isn’t over yet. The CDC and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have stated that until the specified date, they will continue to expel single adults and families encountered at the U.S.-Mexico border. We wish this weren’t the case because we know that with every expulsion, we are denying men, women, and families the right to seek safety and sending them back to harm. Until May 23, we are urging the Biden Administration to use its discretion to exempt particularly vulnerable populations from the Title 42 policy and to begin coordinating with civil society organizations to establish fair, humane, and orderly processes along the border so that people seeking safety can make their claims heard. As LAWG Co-director Daniella Burgi-Palomino stated, “It is time to turn the page on this cruel policy and, once again, for the United States to be a beacon to those seeking refuge from around the world.”