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Pressure Builds on Biden Administration to End Title 42 Program that Blocks and Expels Asylum Seekers

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Washington, DC – Pressure is building on the Biden administration to end the Title 42 program, a Trump-era policy aimed at excluding migrants and asylum seekers due to COVID. Despite promising to undo Trump’s cruel policies, the Biden administration has kept Title 42 in place to block and expel asylum seekers at the southern border. 

As CBS News reported in a story, “Top CDC official told Congress migrant expulsion policy was not needed to contain COVID:

“A former senior official with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told a congressional committee that a border policy instituted last year to expel migrants and block them from requesting asylum was not needed to contain the spread of the coronavirus … Anne Schuchat, the second-highest ranking official at the CDC until her departure this spring, said the mass expulsions of migrants were approved by the Trump administration in March 2020 even though the unprecedented move lacked a sufficient public health rationale.

…Schuchat’s statements further corroborate that the border expulsions were authorized over objections from top public health officials at the CDC … The expulsion policy, known as Title 42, has been continued by the Biden administration.”

A New York Times editorial this weekend, “It’s Time to End the Pandemic Emergency at the Border,” calls for the end of Title 42, noting:

“What is broken at the border didn’t break in the past few months. It has been broken for years. It will take time — and help from Congress — to fix. But the administration must work harder to turn a system that is too often chaotic, arbitrary and even deadly into one that is more orderly and fair. 

…Some say that Title 42 bought the administration time to rebuild the infrastructure for processing migrants that was dismantled under the Trump administration. But Title 42 must end, not only because it is morally and legally questionable but also because the Covid-19 pandemic is receding.”

According to Douglas Rivlin, Director of Communication for America’s Voice: 

Following four years of cruelty and chaos at the hands of Trump, Stephen Miller and their cronies, the Biden administration came into office promising a ‘transformative vision’ that was fair, orderly and humane. Yet they have fallen woefully short of fulfilling their stated vision and have continued to use COVID as an excuse to violate U.S. and international law by denying asylum seekers the ability to seek asylum under our laws.

The fig leaf is off and it’s time to end Title 42. President Biden and his team have to start living up to the values he promised and the fundamental departure from the ways of Trump that Biden promised as a candidate. President Biden has an opportunity to restore the U.S. to our best national traditions of being the global leader on refugee protection. The President and his team need to step up to this humanitarian and governance challenge.