Press Release



Advocates Concerned With Title 42 Expansion Despite Exemptions for Some Venezuelans

Washington – Yesterday, multiple outlets reported that the administration is considering expanding Title 42 while also providing Humanitarian Parole for some Venezuelans who are lucky enough to have family ties in the United States already. Less than a month ago, President Biden told 60 Minutes “the pandemic is over” proving that this proposed expansion of the specious public health authority to more nationalities is about blocking life-saving access to asylum, not public health. Experts and advocates from leading human rights and asylum rights organizations responded:

“It is deeply troubling that the Biden administration is planning a new humanitarian program for some Venezuelans while expanding Title 42 expulsions to include Venezuelans and other nationalities. Instead, the government should continue to work towards ending Title 42 – a cruel, inhumane policy that has long kept asylum seekers out and in danger,” said Melina Roche, Campaign Manager for #WelcomeWithDignity. “#WelcomeWithDignity partners continue to stand ready to work with the Biden administration to restore access to asylum. Our country can and must uphold an asylum system that is fair, humane, orderly for all people – regardless of nationality, race, ethnicity, or having U.S. ties. Everyone seeking safety deserves a chance to seek protection.” 

“The contours of the Humanitarian Parole Program for Venezuelans have not been presented to us, but we are extremely disturbed by the apparent acceptance, codification, and expansion of the use of Title 42, an irrelevant health order, as a cornerstone of border policy. One that expunges the legal right to asylum,” said Thomas Cartwright of Witness at the Border.

“Asylum-seekers have been prevented from their human right to seek asylum for more than two years as a result of policies like Title 42 and Remain in Mexico. At Las Americas, we have witnessed firsthand the harm Title 42 causes vulnerable people. Asylum protections should not be limited to people with relatives in the United States,” said Marisa Limon-Garza, Executive Director of Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center (LAIAC). “The right to seek asylum should be available to all people seeking safety, regardless of whether they have family already here. Now is the time for the Biden administration to establish a humane and orderly asylum system that welcomes everyone with dignity.”

“While we welcome the creation of a parole program for some Venezuelans, the Biden-Harris administration simultaneously urging Mexico to expand Title 42 for Nationals of Haiti, Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua without family ties in the U.S. does not bring us closer to restoring our broken immigration system in an equitable manner.  The right for all to seek asylum-regardless of national origin or family ties -should be fully restored”, said Guerline Jozef, Co-founder and Executive Director of Haitian Bridge Alliance. “The administration must continue to do all within its power to formally terminate this racist and deadly policy; not to expand it.  As the only Black-led organization at the U.S.-Mexico border, we have seen firsthand the negative consequences and disproportionate impact on Black migrants that the current state of our immigration system brings. It can no longer continue like this. We can have a fair, orderly, and humane immigration system that welcomes all with respect and dignity.” 

“Plans by the Biden Administration to expand rather than definitively end Title are a moral non-starter,” said Dylan Corbett, Executive Director, Hope Border Institute. “All those in need of protection should be able to access asylum in an orderly and humane way. Temporary fixes, half measures and steps backward are no longer acceptable. It is time to end Title 42 and restore asylum at the border once and for all.”

“Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is concerned about reports indicating that the Biden Administration is negotiating with the Government of Mexico to expand implementation of Title 42, a harmful pandemic-era policy that effectively prevents most asylum seekers from seeking protection in the U.S,” said Joan Rosenhauer, Executive Director. “While the Biden Administration may also provide protections to some vulnerable groups and has taken important steps to end Title 42, we urge  them to continue to fight for its termination in the courts. This development would send a powerful message to asylum seekers and partners that the U.S. is not prioritizing the needs of those who seek safety and security.”

“While we welcome the announcement of humanitarian parole for Venezuelans with family ties in the United States, people fleeing persecution have the right to seek asylum no matter where they come from, and no matter who they call family,” said Kate Jastram, Director of Policy & Advocacy at the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS). “For over two years, the Title 42 expulsion policy has deprived people of that right, returning vulnerable families, children, and adults to harrowing conditions. It is outrageous that the Biden administration would even consider expanding a policy it has promised to end, and that the CDC itself has recognized serves no public health purpose. This is playing politics with human lives. We urge the administration to reverse course and take immediate steps to restart asylum for all people seeking refuge at the U.S. border.”

“All people – regardless of nationality, skin color, or gender – have the right to seek asylum. And yet, the Biden administration is pressuring Mexico to accept the quick expulsions of Venezuelans, Cubans, Haitians, and Nicaraguans, in violation of this right,” said Kimiko Hirota, policy advisor in the Migrant Rights and Justice program for the Women’s Refugee Commission. “While we welcome the administration’s reported effort to provide some Venezuelans humanitarian parole, this is a band-aid solution that continues to neglect that U.S. ports of entry should be open and accessible to all people who wish to apply for asylum. We urge the Biden administration to stand by its decision to end the debunked Title 42 policy – not continue expanding it for more nationalities and sending more people seeking safety back to danger.”

“It is welcome news that the Biden administration is considering creation of safe pathways for some people seeking refuge to be processed into the United States,” said Eleanor Acer, Senior Director for Refugee Protection at Human Rights First. “We are deeply concerned, however, by reports that this program roll out will be coupled with the expanded use of Title 42 to turn away people seeking asylum to life threatening dangers – another misuse of what is supposedly a public health order.  The Biden administration should restore asylum at ports of entry, uphold refugee law and ensure all asylum seekers, regardless of their nationality or pre-existing ties in the United States, have access to a fair, orderly, and humane asylum process. We can and must restore access to asylum and welcome all refugees with dignity.”

“Expanding access to humanitarian parole is an important step, but it can’t come at the cost of additional harm to asylum seekers,” said Raha Wala, Deputy Director for Legislative Advocacy. “Title 42 is a cruel, Trump-era, anti-immigrant policy that deserves to be relegated to the dustbin of history, not expanded.”

“Offering protection to a few Venezuelans while expanding the Title 42 expulsion policy is morally reprehensible, “ said Ronnate Asirwatham, Government Relations Director, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice. “Everyone seeking protection in the United States must  be able to apply for asylum, and each day that this unjust policy remains in place more and more people are put in danger. The people of the United States have shown that they are ready to welcome with dignity those looking for safety in cities all over the country. We ask President Biden to remember Pope Francis’ words “We cannot remain insensitive, our hearts deadened, before the misery of so many innocent people… We must not fail to respond.” 

“It is important that the Biden administration recognizes the extreme hardships forcing Venezuelans to flee their country. However, it is deeply troubling that the administration is considering pairing this temporary parole program with an expansion of Title 42 expulsions, which would push Venezuelans, Cubans, and Nicaraguans seeking safety at the border back into danger,” said Jennifer Babaie, U.S.-Mexico Border Program Director at the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP). “In addition to specific emergency responses, we must prioritize investing in and rebuilding the U.S. asylum and refugee programs that provide lasting protection and support. All people fleeing for their lives have the right to seek protection in the United States.”

“While the specifics of the administration’s plan are not yet clear, we know that rolling out a parole program for some Venezuelans, while at the same time expanding the reach of Title 42 for others, does not solve any of the major challenges facing the U.S. asylum system and the people who are attempting to find safety in the United States, said Naomi Steinberg, Vice President, U.S. Policy & Advocacy, HIAS. “ The reported plan appears to be a half measure that will help a small subset of Venezuelans who have connections in the U.S. At the same time,  the  administration is not even trying to suggest that the expansion of Title 42 expulsions to other Venezuelans, Cubans and Nicaraguans is connected to a public health pretense anymore. We applaud the administration for endeavoring to address real problems with the U.S. asylum system, but expanding, rather than eliminating Title 42, while displaying preferential treatment for some asylum seekers from Venezuela through a limited parole program, is not the comprehensive fix that we need.”

“Instead of restoring a fair, orderly asylum process, as promised, President Biden’s border policy has been chaotic, confusing, and incoherent,” said Chelsea Sachau, Managing Attorney of the Border Action Team at the Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project. “It is long past time for this administration to restore asylum processing at all ports of entry for everyone seeking safety, rather than reacting to each crisis and giving some people preferential treatment based on nationality, ties to the U.S., or other arbitrary factors. Everyone fleeing violence and persecution has the right to seek safety in the U.S.” 

“We commend the Biden administration for exploring ways to expand humanitarian relief to Venezuelans. But access to our asylum system should not be limited by nationality or close ties to the United States—everyone fleeing danger or persecution must be given an opportunity to seek protection. And any expansion of Title 42 to summarily remove those seeking refuge is a stark betrayal of both our values and our international commitments,” said Alvaro M Huerta, Director of Litigation and Advocacy at Immigrant Defenders Law Center. “It’s high time that this administration restore dignity and due process to our asylum system.”

“We welcome this opportunity for safety for some Venezuelans, but all people should be granted the legal right to seek asylum, regardless of where they’re from or what family ties to the U.S. they have,” said Adela de la Torre, Deputy Director at Justice Action Center. “The United States has legal obligations to uphold the right to seek safety; everyday that Title 42 continues is another day the U.S. violates this right. Requiring Venezuelan asylum seekers to have family ties to the U.S. excludes those without existing support in the country and will disportionately impact queer folks and other people with chosen families. Instead of selective, temporary programs with exclusionary guidelines, the U.S. government can and must institute a functioning asylum system. 

“We unequivocally condemn any move by the Biden administration to expand the Title 42 mass expulsions program,” said Mary Meg McCarthy, executive director, National Immigrant Justice Center. “While we welcome the use of parole to bring people to safety while they assert their claims for asylum and other relief, we are concerned at the narrow confines of the program reportedly under consideration, including the requirement of a U.S.-based sponsor. NIJC staff are regularly receiving newcomers arriving to Chicago from the border by bus, and in our experience very few Venezuelans arriving in search of safety have someone who would be available to sponsor them for this program. We urge the Biden administration to ensure that Venezuelans and other newcomers arriving at the U.S. border have access to the U.S. asylum system and that those already here are provided sustainable protections. Communities throughout the United States are ready to welcome them.”

“While we welcome any program that can possibly help people seeking refuge, we are also critical of the way that the Biden administration creates temporary protections based on nationality. We need to invest in the fight for asylum, and create durable solutions that can benefit all asylum-seekers and not just some,” said Nejra Sumic, National Field Manager, We Are All America

The #WelcomeWithDignity Campaign for asylum rights is composed of more than 100 national and regional organizations committed to transforming the way the United States receives and protects people forced to flee their homes to ensure they are treated humanely and fairly. To learn more and join our campaign visit: