Humanitarian organizations have long called on the Biden administration to put an end not only to Title 42, but to all short-sighted solutions to immigration at the US Southern border.
Title 42 has been used to justify nearly 2.5 million expulsions though the U.S. has legal obligations under international and domestic law to provide all asylum-seekers the legal right to seek safety. There is also no public health rationale for this policy to continue, especially given that the US has rolled back most national pandemic-era restrictions.
Ending Title 42 is an opportunity for the Biden Administration to build a safe, orderly, and humane process to welcome asylum seekers. The Administration must put an end to the border externalization policies that put asylum-seekers at risk. This harmful policy deprived thousands of asylum seekers of due process, sending them back to dangerous conditions, similar if not worse to those they escaped in Mexico, northern Central America, Haiti and other countries.
As conflict has escalated in recent months around the world, the U.S. honored this right to seek safety, offering alternatives for people from countries like Afghanistan and Ukraine. But other crises cannot be neglected and the termination of Title 42 gave hope that asylum-seekers from other parts of the world will have the same opportunity to search for safety in the U.S. The US’ asylum and refugee resettlement systems must provide viable pathways to safety for all people fleeing harm, regardless of their country of origin, race, religion, color or creed.
Civil society has the expertise and the infrastructure to help the administration achieve its goals of safe, regular, and humane migration processes that respect the right to seek asylum. This was an opportunity for the Biden Administration to the necessary action to end border externalization policies that put asylum-seekers at risk, and to invest in capacity to welcome asylum-seekers in the U.S – including additional reception and adjudication capacity at ports of entry, funding border shelters and protection services. The US can and should continue to spearhead efforts across the Americas to stem the drivers of migration – including climate change, economic turmoil, and armed conflict – that push thousands to flee their homes in search of safety.