SAN DIEGO –After conducting its latest 60-day review of Title 42, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced today that the government will no longer expel people under the policy beginning May 23.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trump administration put into effect longer-standing plans to use Title 42, an obscure provision of U.S. health law, to shut down the border. The policy was continued under the Biden administration. Under the guise of public health, the policy has unlawfully stripped people fleeing danger of the right to seek asylum by expelling them without any due process.
The American Civil Liberties Union and partners challenged Title 42 from the start.
Norma Chávez-Peterson, executive director of the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties, said:
“All people fleeing persecution, violence and war – regardless of their country of origin – deserve a fair and equal opportunity to seek asylum in the United States.
“Unfortunately, the prior administration’s efforts to unlawfully dismantle our asylum system, through policies such as Title 42 and Remain in Mexico, resulted in needless suffering.
“Today, the ACLU-SDIC commends the CDC’s decision to abandon Title 42 and start allowing people to seek asylum – as is their human and legal right. For more than two years, the federal government used Title 42 as an excuse to expel migrants seeking protection at the U.S. border. This cruel and inhumane policy had a disproportionate impact on Black, brown and LGBTQ people.
“The Biden administration must repair the terrible harm done by Title 42 and take immediate, common-sense measures to rebuild our nation’s asylum system.
“The federal government has the capacity, resources, and legal and moral obligation to roll back this inhumane policy. It can do so in a safe and efficient manner. The Biden administration must work with community-based service providers in our border communities – including in remote and rural areas such as Imperial County, where services are especially scarce – to ensure they have the resources necessary to welcome people with dignity and respect.”
Lee Gelernt, lead litigator in the ACLU’s Title 42 legal challenge, had the following reaction:
“We welcome this development, but a substantial rollback of expulsions can and should begin immediately so that more lives are not shattered in the interim. Using the public health laws as a substitute for immigration policy was never justified and the courts have rightly said so."
Jonathan Blazer, director of border strategies at the ACLU, had the following reaction:
“The new order is a huge step forward in the fight to ensure that people fleeing violence and persecution will once again be able to seek safety in this country, as our laws require. Title 42 has been misused for over two years to illegally shut down asylum at the southern border and send thousands of people directly back into harm’s way.
“With an end date for Title 42 now set, it’s time for the Biden administration to fulfill its campaign promises to build an asylum system that is just, humane, and in line with our values as a nation. This must include a restart to asylum processing at U.S. ports of entry and stronger partnership with groups providing humane reception services at the border. The federal government has the resources and capacity to screen people seeking asylum safely, fairly, and accurately. All that remains is for President Biden to exhibit the political will to make it happen.”