Press

Congresswoman Jayapal, SEIU President, and National Leaders Ramp Up Pressure to End Title 42

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 23, 2022

CONTACT: press@welcomewithdignity.org

 

CONGRESSWOMAN JAYAPAL, SEIU PRESIDENT, AND NATIONAL LEADERS RAMP UP PRESSURE TO END TITLE 42

Friday’s injunction makes restoring asylum more urgent than ever

Listen to a recording of the call here

Washington Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus joined leaders of SEIU, NILC, and Human Rights First to mark the day that should have been the end of the anti-refugee, anti-Black, and anti-LGBTQ policy known as Title 42. A recent court injunction has barred the end of the policy, and Congress is still expected to vote on amendments to a COVID relief bill that would go even further by effectively ending asylum indefinitely. Joined by Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, national leaders called for the decisive end of this cruel Trump-era policy and reiterate the need for a fair and humane asylum system that centers the dignity of all people.

“Title 42 is a racist, xenophobic relic of the Trump Administration’s anti-immigrant agenda. Friday’s decision by a federal judge to keep the policy in place was wrong, driven by politics and not facts. I applaud the DOJ for already signaling it will move to appeal this ruling,” said Congresswoman Jayapal. “As Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, I’m proud to stand side by side with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in opposing any amendments and any legislation that would reinstate Title 42. It is past time to stop using immigrants as political footballs and do what we must – pass humane immigration reform.”

“Judge Summerhays’ decision to keep Title 42 in place and continue to turn away people seeking refuge at our border is an affront to our core values as Americans and to our history as a beacon for the oppressed,” said Mary Kay Henry, International President of Service Employees International Union (SEIU). In light of this terrible decision, my message today could not be simpler, nor could it be more urgent: Working people demand a government that works for all expect Congress and the President to stand with immigrants and refugees and use every power at their disposal to support humane policies at the border and a path to citizenship.”

“The Trump administration weaponized Title 42 to block people from exercising their fundamental right to seek asylum,” said Marielena Hincapié, Executive Director of the National Immigration Law Center (NILC). “This cruel policy never had a basis in public health, and the Biden administration made the correct, if overdue, decision to end it. We urge the administration to vigorously defend ending Title 42 expulsions against those who would wish to cement this horrific Trump policy into law. Independent of what the courts decide, Congress must reject any legislation that would indefinitely block access to the legal right to seek asylum in the United States.”

“The use of Title 42 not only leads to more repeat border crossings and inflated border-crossing statistics, it allows the United States to evade its own immigration and refugee laws.  The Biden administration’s decision to end Title 42 was a crucial step in returning the United States to an asylum system that meets American law and its treaty obligations.  It is encouraging that the Justice Department quickly filed an appeal to the Louisiana court’s ruling, which extends the use of a policy, ostensibly based on public health, that public health experts have concluded is not needed.  Now it is critical that the administration take all necessary steps to defend the CDC’s decision to end the use of Title 42,” said Michael Breen, President and CEO of Human Rights First.   

A recording of the call is available here.

The Welcome with Dignity Campaign 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: welcomewithdignity.org

###

#WelcomeWithDignity Denounces Hate Groups Immigration Proposals

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 12, 2022

CONTACT: press@welcomewithdignity.org

#WelcomeWithDignity Denounces Hate Groups Immigration Proposals

 

Washington The #WelcomeWithDignity campaign expressed grave concern with the anti-immigrant legislative priorities for the 118th Congress that extremist hate groups including the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) shared with Congressional leaders yesterday. These groups are committed to enacting cruel policies that would keep out people seeking safety, dismantle our asylum system, and eliminate the United States’ longstanding tradition of welcoming immigrants and refugees who enrich this country.

 

It is no surprise that organizations dedicated to excluding immigrants and advancing white nationalist objectives have presented such extreme and dangerous policy recommendations. Republicans and, to their shame, some Democrats are already embracing and advancing some of these policies. Proposals to extend the Trump-era asylum ban known as Title 42 – like the Public Health and Border Security Act of 2022 (S. 4036 / H.R. 7458) sponsored by Senators Sinema and Lankford – are aligned with the anti-immigrant agenda. While touted as a public health measure, we know that Title 42 has had no impact on limiting the spread of COVID-19, has been a hugely ineffective tool in managing migration and has always been about restricting access to asylum. By design, the policy has disparately harmed Black and brown immigrants seeking safety.

 

“Rather than being complicit and carrying out the legislative demands of hate groups and former Trump officials, we expect our leaders to support and work towards building a fair and humane immigration system,” said Melina Roche, Campaign Manager of #WelcomeWithDignity. “We urge Senate to reject legislation or any efforts that mandate the continuation of Title 42, which is a threat to our asylum system. We implore Congressional leaders to work with #WelcomeWithDignity partners to restore access to asylum at the border and create a more fair, humane, and orderly system that lives up to our values as a nation that welcomes people fleeing persecution. Our partners at the border, in Washington, and across the nation stand ready to help ensure that America keeps its promise to protect the vulnerable and upholds its obligation, enshrined in our laws, to never send people back to persecution or torture.”

 

The Welcome with Dignity Campaign is composed of more than 95  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: welcomewithdignity.org

###

DC Advocates Rally to Welcome Asylum Seekers in Response to Abbott’s Stunt

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 14, 2022

CONTACT: Jossie Flor Sapunar | jsapunar@wearecasa.org

CONTACT: Bilal Askaryar | BilalA@wrcommission.org |

CONTACT: Melissa Stek | media@interfaithimmigration.org |

 

DC GROUPS RALLY TO WELCOME ASYLUM SEEKERS IN RESPONSE TO ABBOTT’S STUNT

Groups remind Governor Abbott human beings are not props

 

Washington — Dozens of groups based in the District of Columbia, which is located in Piscataway Nation, expressed their solidarity and steadfast support to the migrants and asylum seekers that were bussed to the nation’s capital by Governor Greg Abbott of Texas. When Governor Abbott announced his plan to send people seeking asylum and other migrants to Washington, DC using Texas’ state funds, DC-area groups began planning a robust welcome, including a welcoming party and press conference at Union Station. 

 

Today’s welcome rally comes just hours after the #WelcomeWithDignity campaign and the Interfaith Immigration Coalition held a press call with faith leaders welcoming the Biden administration’s first step towards restoring asylum by ending Title 42. The faith leaders from California, Texas, and Arizona represented organizations and faith communities working directly with asylum seekers who continue to be subjected to Title 42 and will finally have their chance to apply for asylum once the policy is repealed on May 23.

 

“We welcome our southern Indigenous relatives to the Piscataway homeland, know that you are part of our family” said Dr. Gabrille Tayac, Piscataway Activist and Historian. “Our peoples have walked together seeking justice and healing for 40 years – and we will keep going by your side as long as it takes.”

“As a resident of our nation’s capital, I and #WelcomeWithDignity partners stand ready to welcome migrants and people seeking asylum to our city and help them reunite with family and loved ones,” said Melina Roche, Campaign Manager of #WelcomeWithDignity. “As an immigrant whose family fled a war-torn Guatemala in the ’90s, I personally have borne witness to America’s welcoming spirit. Neighbors, teachers, congregations, nonprofit organizations, and local governments have always stepped up to provide support and create a sense of belonging for those seeking safety in the U.S.. I am proud to pay it forward at this moment and until we have built a fair, humane, and orderly asylum system.”

 

“We are eager to serve the asylum seekers that arrive from Texas and beyond,” said Gustavo Torres, Executive Director of CASA. “In our region, we are blessed with a forward-thinking government and a tight net of advocates, allies, and immigrant activists that lead with respect and dignity. Restoring asylum and expanding opportunities for immigrants to receive protection is what our country must do. For those who seek to stay, we are ready to offer what’s needed for the DMV to be a safe and happy home.”

 

“As Christians now in the embrace of Holy Week, we are moved by the model of healing leadership, humble respect, suffering in solidarity, and resistance to threats and trauma imposed by the powerful that was modelled by Jesus in events commemorated in these sacred days,” said Rev. Dr. Sharon Stanley-Rea, Director, Disciples Refugee & Immigration Ministries. “Recalling each one, we renew our commitment to engage in sacred acts ourselves—as we actively welcome and restore asylum for migrants who have experienced great loss, stand in solidarity against efforts to exclude asylum seekers from protections, and continue to push back against any powers that seek to extend the restrictions and traumas caused by Title 42. Our arms and hearts are ready to robustly welcome–in our borderlands, in our neighborhoods near Washington, DC, and throughout our nation!” 

“In this sacred season of Ramadan, Passover, Good Friday, and Easter, we Franciscans want immigrants to know that they are welcomed by Muslims, Jews, and Christians in the Washington DC area,” states Sr. Marie Lucey OSF, Associate Director of Franciscan Action Network.  “As Governor Abbott uses our immigrant neighbors for political theater, we Franciscans join other people of faith in welcoming them as sisters and brothers.”

 

“Doctors for Camp Closure locally and nationally welcome our new immigrant neighbors. We are happy to provide you medical care when needed. We always want you to be treated humanely and with respect,” said Dr. Kate Sugarman, Doctors for Camp Closure.

 

“Washington, DC is always happy to welcome new neighbors to our homes,” John Payne, an organizer with Sanctuary DMV. “We have strong, rich immigrant communities in the DMV and we are always ready to support individuals seeking refuge. While Greg Abbott is trying to create biggoted political theater, we will make sure all of our new neighbors are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. We call on the US government to grant the unjustly blocked asylum requests and will continue to stand alongside all immigrants and refugees in their fight for justice.”

 

“Washington, DC is a vibrant community home to immigrants from around the world. Greg Abbott’s outrageous attempt to use asylum seekers and migrants as a political weapon is a failure from the start, because Washingtonians are ready, willing, and able to assist vulnerable individuals get to their ultimate destinations, whether in the region or elsewhere,” said Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, Senior Policy Counsel, American Immigration Council. “Despite Abbott’s dehumanizing rhetoric, asylum seekers are authorized to remain legally in the United States while they go through the asylum process and have a right to live where they may choose. Rather than seeking to sow chaos, Abbott should instead work with local NGOs in south Texas to ensure that no person is dropped off at the border with no place to go.”

“We are blessed that during this Holy Week, we in Washington, D.C. have been able to welcome immigrants to our city and live out the principles of Catholic Social Justice so prominently,” said Mary Novak, Executive Director, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice. “During this Holy Week we reflect on the words of Pope Francis and we ask all politicians to do the same –  ‘Every migrant is a person with dignity, with roots, with a culture. Each of them is the bearer of a wealth infinitely greater than the problems they bring. The phenomenon of migration cannot be reduced to a crisis; it is a sign of our times.’”

“We are thrilled to welcome our new neighbors to the District, just as Human Rights First has received and served asylum seekers in Washington, D.C. for decades,” said Robyn Barnard, senior advocacy counsel for Refugee Protection at Human Rights First. “This failed attempt to politicize refugees and migrants by the Governor of Texas is a sad failure of leadership. We will continue to work closely with our partners in Texas and along the border to do the work of receiving and helping asylum seekers along their journey to seek security and safety in the United States, as is their legal right under the laws of our country.”

 

“The D.C. region has made strides to be welcoming immigrant neighbors as we try to live up to the words engraved on the Statue of Liberty,” said Monica Hopkins, Executive Director of the ACLU of the District Columbia.“The ACLU-D.C. will continue working with our allies, fighting for the rights of asylum seekers and working to celebrate and welcome our immigrant neighbors as they come to our area.”

 

“Individuals, advocates and organizations like The Tahirih Justice Center are proud to welcome our new neighbors arriving from Texas,” said Casey Carter Swegman, Director of Public Policy at the Tahirih Justice Center. “People fleeing violence and seeking safety in this country should never be used as pawns in a political stunt. Our rich and diverse community will ensure these migrants receive the services they need as they determine the next steps on their journey to justice.”

 

“We in Washington DC stand alongside communities throughout the country ready to welcome with dignity those individuals and families who are seeking refuge at the U.S. border,” said Katharina Obser, director of the Migrant Rights and Justice program at Women’s Refugee Commission. “Women’s Refugee Commission has long known that the U.S. can have a fair, welcoming, and orderly asylum system and will continue to work to ensure exactly that. While we are horrified by this shameful ploy to use migrants for a fear-mongering photo-op, we know DC communities and organizations will ensure that those arriving here will be supported to ensure they can navigate the immigration process and reunite with families.” 

 

“Whether at the border or arriving on our doorsteps here in Washington, DC, migrants are our brothers and sisters,” said Susan Gunn, Director of the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns. “We hear from our partners at the Southwest border that the migrants on these buses represent some of the neediest cases – people with nowhere else to turn. During the Passover feast, Jesus bent to wash the feet of his disciples. May we follow in his footsteps by bending to serve these newcomers during Holy Week and the Easter Season, offering them the welcome and hospitality they deserve as children of God. May their stories move us to create a robust asylum system that offers fair protection for the persecuted.”

 

“We are so happy to welcome immigrants coming to the DC area. We understand the trauma of having to flee and the hope of getting to the promised land as is our passover story, said Rabbi Joshua Lesser, President Bridges Faith Initiative. Our faith traditions urge welcoming them with dignity and offering care and support. Seeking Asylum is a human right.  Title 42 was a thinly veiled attempt to gut our country’s asylum system. Title 42 undermines what we hold as a humane, sensible, and necessary asylum system and we support the Biden administration’s decision to end it. It is an important step to ensure that immigrants have the right to be safe.”  

 

“Our message is simple: refugees and immigrants are always welcome here. This disturbing attempt in Texas to ostracize refugees and immigrants runs so deeply counter to the reality of how integral our new neighbors are to our communities,” said Nili Sarit Yossinger, Executive Director of Refugee Congress. “People seeking refuge and safety must continue to be welcomed with dignity and kindness, and we are proud to model that in our nation’s capital.”

 

“It’s a shame that any government official would play with the lives of humans, but here in Washington DC, not only do we welcome refugees with arms wide open, but we are excited to help incorporate them into our community,” said Jessi Calzado-Esponda, Refugee Congress Delegate for the District of Columbia.

 

“It is Holy Week and as people of faith, we grasp onto the prophetic promise of restoration,” said Katie Adams, Domestic Policy Advocate, The United Church of Christ. “This means more than sacred hymns or rituals, it means loving and welcoming our neighbors be they across the street or across many miles. Love is an action, and the United Church of Christ is grateful to welcome asylum seekers and migrants as they arrive in D.C. or at the border; we stand ready and willing to make sure that those arriving are cared for and reunited with family and community.”

 

“Governor Greg Abbot of Texas, most recent political act of transporting  migrants to Washington, D.C. will be met with the radical Christian love that God calls us to”,  said Rev. Kendal L. McBroom, Director of Civil and Human Rights at the General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church. “On this Holy Thursday, the Christian church remembers the commandment Christ gave his disciples saying “Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.”In this same spirit of love we meet and welcome our immigrant neighbors with open arms and care, and we call for policies that offer this same radical love and welcome to all people seeking safety and refuge, not just some. As United Methodists we believe that at the center of Christian faithfulness to Scripture is the call we have been given to love and welcome the sojourner.”  

 

“In attempting to intimidate the people of Washington DC by dehumanizing migrants, Governor Abbot’s political ploy has severely backfired,” said Kim Lamberty, DMin, Executive Director of the Quixote Center. “Migrants are an integral part of the vibrant fabric that makes up the DMV region. As multiple faith communities prepare to celebrate their sacred holidays, we stand more ready than ever to welcome our new neighbors.” 

 

“As the only Maya women led organization in the country founded by Maya refugees and allies of the solidarity movement during the genocide in Guatemala, we welcome all people fleeing violence and persecution, and affirm our support of Indigenous migrants” said Juanita Cabrera Lopez of the Maya Mam Nation and Executive Director of the International Mayan League. “Indigenous peoples continue to be a large demographic of those seeking asylum but remain invisible in official data due to misclassification as Latino or Hispanic. We applaud the regional efforts to respond to the needs in our communities, but we must ensure that the Indigeneity of our peoples is recognized so they are welcomed with respect and dignity.” 

 

“I know the heart of Texans, and Governor Abbot’s decision to transport migrants from south Texas to Washington D.C. does not represent the heart of Texas. That is why I am deeply disappointed and saddened today,” said Elket Rodriguez, a resident of Texas and Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s field personnel serving at the U.S.-Mexico border. When I fled my country, I was welcomed by very conservative Christian Texans who loved me and cared for me and my family as one of their own. So, I know firsthand the compassionate heart of Texans and the joy they experience as they welcome the least of these, following in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ. Let no one be fooled, there are thousands of Texans who care, volunteer, and donate to serve the migrants among us. The spirit of those Texans cannot and will not be diminished and we will continue to welcome and serve until there are no more migrants bussed to other locations besides their destinations.”    

 

“We are horrified by Abbott’s anti-immigrant political theater. This shameful ploy uses people who are coming to this country seeking refuge in a mercenary and xenophobic way,” said Sirine Shebaya, Executive Director of the National Immigration Project. “While we know that DC will welcome its new neighbors with the dignity and respect they deserve, we will continue fighting for a world where everyone can live and move freely and find a warm welcome at our borders.”

 

“During this holy time, we should remember and do justice to our faith values by welcoming the stranger,” said Viviana Westbrook, State and Local Advocacy Attorney at Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC). “Our communities are stronger than fear and xenophobia. We embrace our immigrant and refugee neighbors and open our doors to welcome in more.” 

 

“This Holy Week Governor Abbott has sent the DC metro area migrants from our southern border. This Holy Week we remember the path of palms laid down to welcome Jesus. And we see how quickly a path of welcome can change to a tortured path of death,” said Fran Eskin-Royer, Executive Director of the National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd. “Our community is vibrant and caring and stands proudly to welcome these men, women and children; to welcome these children of God.”

 

“Guided by the Quaker belief in the divine light within each person, we welcome those who have migrated to Texas and are now arriving in D.C.” said Imani Cruz, Migration Policy Advocacy Coordinator at American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). “We celebrate the common humanity and spiritual connectedness in us all, which transcend borders, and recognize that migration enriches both individual lives and communities. While we celebrate the ending of Title 42, which has blocked the right to claim asylum for years, we are heartbroken by migration policies that dehumanize some members of our human family on the basis of where they come from. We call for policies that protect, respect, and uphold the human rights of all migrants by giving equal access to all essential services so that they can fully enjoy the rights to which they are entitled.” 

 

“We’re thrilled to welcome our new neighbors,” said Lisi DiTullio, an organizer with Never Again Action DC. “On Passover, we’re asked to reflect on our ancestors’ oppression and bring those lessons into the present. Our history commands us to embrace and care for people seeking refuge. While Greg Abbott puts his white nationalism and xenophobia on full display, we’re proud to join our partners in treating immigrants with the dignity and respect they deserve.”

 

“Instead of recognizing the humanity of these migrants and finding solutions that serve everyone’s needs, Governor Abbott has decided to politicize the issue in an attempt to score cheap political points,” said María José Espinosa, Deputy Director at the Center for Democracy in the Americas. “Among those on the move in the Americas and coming to the U.S., there are individuals with bona fide international protection needs, in addition to individuals with vulnerability profiles such as separated and unaccompanied children, pregnant and lactating mothers, victims of trafficking, and survivors of sexual violence. This necessitates a protection lens in migration management, including within deterrence and enforcement measures. The Governor should support a U.S. policy that prioritizes an integrated plan of action that acknowledges the protection crisis in the hemisphere, including within the U.S., and lays out a sustainable approach to migration management that is safe, orderly, and humane.”

 

“Borderland communities and communities across the country are ready to welcome,” said Dylan Corbett, executive director of the Hope Border Institute. “In this time of Holy Week, we remember that communities of faith are on the front lines, welcoming and protecting vulnerable people on the move in their home countries, at the border and in the places where they arrive. In the face of that movement of compassion, mercy and justice, every political stunt falls flat.” 

 

“Governor Abbott’s grandstanding amounts to nothing more than a crass political stunt, and it’s one that will ultimately backfire. Even today, as his buses arrive in Washington, the asylum seekers on board are being welcomed with open arms and are being given the support they need to rebuild their lives as our new neighbors,” said Elissa Diaz, Associate Director of Policy and Advocacy, Church World Service. “These new members of our communities came here through our asylum system, because as a nation the United States created laws that protect those fleeing violence and persecution. Asylum seekers are our coworkers, our fellow parishioners, and our friends, by welcoming them we become stronger. So as the governor engages in political theater, the only result will be depriving his constituents of a most valuable resource, a shared humanity.”

 

“HIAS applauds the impending end of Title 42, a policy which violates US and international law, as well as basic principles of human decency,” said Sue Kenney-Pfalzer, Director of Border & Asylum Network, HIAS. “Headquartered near our nation’s capital, HIAS and our supporters welcome the opportunity to greet the asylum seekers that Governor Abbott bused to Washington, DC to show them the very best of our American and Jewish values. We do not believe those seeking safety from violence and persecution should be transported around the country as political pawns. Instead, they should have access to an asylum system that is fair, humane and treats all people with dignity and respect.”

 

The #WelcomeWithDignity campaign’s recommendations to humanely restore our asylum system are available here.

 

The Welcome with Dignity Campaign is composed of more than 95  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: welcomewithdignity.org

With over 122,000 lifetime Latino, immigrant, and working-class members across 46 US states, CASA is the foremost immigrant organization in the mid-Atlantic region and a national leader in supporting immigrant families and ensuring that all individuals have the core support necessary for full participation in society. Now a national immigrant powerhouse, CASA creates change with its powerbuilding model blending human services, community organizing, and advocacy in order to serve the full spectrum of the needs, dreams, and aspirations of members. Visit us at www.wearecasa.org and follow us on Twitter at @CASAforall.

The Interfaith Immigration Coalition is made up of over 55 national, faith-based organizations brought together across many theological traditions with a common call to seek just policies that lift up the God-given dignity of every individual. In partnership, we work to protect the rights, dignity, and safety of all refugees and migrants. Follow us on Twitter @interfaithimm 

###

FAITH LEADERS SUPPORT THE END OF TITLE 42 AND ARE READY TO WELCOME

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 14, 2022

CONTACT: Bilal Askaryar | BilalA@wrcommission.org

CONTACT: Melissa Stek | media@interfaithimmigration.org |

 

Share on social: https://bit.ly/Faith4T42End 

 

FAITH LEADERS SUPPORT THE END OF TITLE 42 AND ARE READY TO WELCOME

Recording here

Washington Earlier today the #WelcomeWithDignity campaign held a press call with faith leaders welcoming the Biden administration’s first step towards restoring asylum by ending Title 42.  Undeterred by some lawmakers’ attempts to stop President Biden from ending the policy, the faith leaders expressed their readiness to work with the federal government to welcome asylum seekers who will finally have their chance to apply for asylum once the policy is repealed on May 23rd. 

 

The faith leaders from California, Texas, and Arizona represent organizations and faith communities working directly with people seeking asylum who are subjected to Title 42. 

 

“On this Holy Thursday, we remember in a particular way that even and especially in difficult moments we are invited to be a community around the same table. I’m inviting you to trust in the grace of migrants to be co-creators of this community. I’m inviting you to trust in people of good will at the border and in the US to respond to God’s call to welcome. And most of all I’m inviting you to trust that in this work of welcome and hospitality we can create a society that is better for all of us,” said Joanna Williams, Executive Director of Kino Border Initiative.

 

“We welcome the Biden Administration’s promise to end the controversial Title 42 policy. We in the Reform Jewish faith community, through the work of our congregations, are ready to work with the federal government in welcoming asylum seekers into this country, who have been cruelly and unfairly denied their opportunity at freedom and justice. Tomorrow evening, Jews around the world will gather round tables to celebrate the holiday of Passover. As we begin the ritual, we recite:  This is the bread of affliction  which our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt. All who are hungry – let them come and eat. All who are needy – let them come and celebrate the Passover with us. May those words not be empty,” said Rabbi Esther L. Lederman, Union for Reform Judaism  

 

Said Elket Rodriguez, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s field personnel serving at the U.S.-Mexico border: “I oppose Title 42 from a moral standpoint as an unwelcoming device that transgresses my Christian faith. And from a policy perspective, it does not make any sense or serve any purposes. In fact, Title 42 is currently an operational stumbling block for Customs and Border Patrol. More than 30 percent of the migrants arrested at the U.S.-Mexico border in February and March 2022 were repeat crossers who were previously expelled through Title 42. 

In this Holy Week, as we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, let us resurrect a new era of welcoming in our country. That is the best way we can honor the spirit of Jesus’s sacrifice: to see Him in the stranger.”

 

“As Christians now in the embrace of Holy Week, we are moved by the model of healing leadership, humble respect, suffering in solidarity, and resistance to threats and trauma imposed by the powerful that was modelled by Jesus in events commemorated in these sacred days,” said Rev. Dr. Sharon Stanley-Rea, Director, Disciples Refugee & Immigration Ministries. “Recalling each one, we renew our commitment to engage in sacred acts ourselves—as we actively welcome and restore asylum for migrants who have experienced great loss, stand in solidarity against efforts to exclude asylum seekers from protections, and continue to push back against any powers that seek to extend the restrictions and traumas caused by Title 42. Our arms and hearts are ready to robustly welcome–in our borderlands, in our neighborhoods near Washington, DC, and throughout our nation!” 

 

“The Bible demands that we welcome the stranger 36 times.  It is a paramount commandment given by God over and over so that we may hear the call to be God’s partners in providing sanctuary to those seeking safety, shelter, and a better life,” said Rabbi Devorah Marcus of Temple Emanu-El in San Diego. “We have heard people use the excuse that we are not prepared to welcome asylum seekers and refugees because of the dismantling of our welcoming infrastructure during the previous administration.  This is a sad excuse.  We are ready and we are waiting.  In our greatest moments, we are a nation that says “Yes We Can!”  This racist policy has caused untold trauma on God’s children waiting beyond the wall for the United States to uphold its own laws, to uphold its own promises, and to fulfill its own moral obligations to our history, our legacy, our foundational values, and our responsibility as a global leader of morality and decency.  May we fulfill our obligations as God’s partners and welcome the stranger who is, in actuality, our sister and our brother, because they too are a beloved of God.”

 

Rev. Noel Andersen, Director of Grassroots Organizing for Church World Service, said: “During this time of Holy Week, it is particularly important to express our values of love and welcome to our neighbors. This is represented by our ongoing advocacy to lift Title 42, a morally misguided Trump policy that was never actually about public health, but a tactic to block asylum in an unconstitutional way. The Church World Service national network of denominations and faith communities that represents millions of people of faith stand ready to welcome asylum seekers and those seeking safety. We are outraged by legislative proposals that would make Title 42 almost impossible to rescind and call on all Members of Congress to vote against such provisions. All refugees and asylum seekers deserve to be welcomed with dignity and without discrimination.”

 

A recording of the call is available here.

 

The #WelcomeWithDignity campaign’s recommendations to humanely restore our asylum system are available here. See the Interfaith Immigration Coalition’s recommendations here

 

The Welcome with Dignity Campaign is composed of more than 95  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: welcomewithdignity.org

The Interfaith Immigration Coalition is made up of over 55 national, faith-based organizations brought together across many theological traditions with a common call to seek just policies that lift up the God-given dignity of every individual. In partnership, we work to protect the rights, dignity, and safety of all refugees and migrants. Follow us on Twitter @interfaithimm

###

Lankford and Sinema Side With Stephen Miller

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 7, 2022

CONTACT: press@welcomewithdignity.org

 

Lankford and Sinema Side With Stephen Miller

Continuing Title 42 means continuing a racist policy

 

Washington — In response to Senators Sinema of Arizona and Lankford of Oklahoma introducing a bill to keep Title 42 in place, the #WelcomeWithDignity Campaign issued the following statement:

“Follow the science, not Stephen Miller,” said Melina Roche, Campaign Manager for #WelcomeWithDignity. “#WelcomeWithDignity and its partners are working with the Biden administration to create a fair, timely, and humane asylum system. We’ve done it before and will do it again: we can process asylum seekers in accordance with science-based public health measures and uphold the legal right of everyone to seek safety. We urge lawmakers to not let fear and xenophobia win, and instead to defend our nation’s values by welcoming the stranger with dignity.”

ON TITLE 42’S RACIST INTENT AND IMPACT:

“It is a sad day when Democrats offer, and solicit support for, a bill that would extend a bogus Trump/Miller health order that has no basis in public health policy,” said Thomas Cartwright of the Leadership Table of Witness at the Border. “All in the interest of selectively extending the exclusion of black and brown people desperate for refuge to assert their right to protection under US law while exceptions are made for others now daily. Selectively ignoring the rule of law that offers humanitarian protection to all people is not just disturbing, it smears a deep black mark onto the soul of this nation.”

“Senators Sinema and Lankford’s dehumanizing rhetoric and racist policy proposal in response to the end of Title 42 is cruel, immoral, and will put the lives of thousands of immigrants and refugees at continued risk. These politicians are using Title 42 to stoke fear and xenophobia and are turning their backs on the law and human rights,” said Tami Goodlette, Director of Litigation at RAICES. “The responses from politicians like Sinema and Lankford are not about the facts that we know about the pandemic, but rather blatant racism to prevent Black and brown people from seeking safety in the U.S. With the end of Title 42, communities and organizations at the border and across the country are ready to work with the Biden administration to restore our asylum system and welcome people seeking safety with dignity and open arms.”

“The Lankford-Sinema bill is a shameful ploy to weaponize the COVID-19 pandemic against people seeking safety,” said Blaine Bookey, Legal Director of the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS). “The bill would force the Biden administration to keep the deadly Title 42 policy in place, in violation of our laws and treaty obligations and in defiance of the CDC’s own scientific analysis. Advocates and border communities are ready to welcome people seeking asylum with dignity. Their congressional representatives should be standing with them, not taking radical steps to cement Stephen Miller’s racist legacy. Any lawmaker who professes to follow the science and honor the humanity of immigrants should wholeheartedly reject the Lankford-Sinema bill.”  

“Just as the United States Government cloaked its racism behind the guise of national security to incarcerate Japanese Americans during WWII, we have used the COVID health threat and the misapplication of Title 42 to target mostly black and brown refugees for exclusion and deportation,” said David Inoue, MPH/MHA, Executive Director of the Japanese American Citizens League. “As we lift health restrictions to combat the COVID pandemic and continue to remain open to other foreign travelers, there is no justification to claim a public health emergency to continue excluding refugees. As we now understand the racism behind Japanese American incarceration advocates’ intentions, we must also recognize  the underlying racism and xenophobia driving afforts to extend Title 42.” 

“Stephen Miller took advantage of a global pandemic to replace our asylum system with an expulsion system under Title 42, intentionally causing additional human suffering and death,” said Karen Tumlin, Founder and Director of Justice Action Center. “Blocking a wind-down of Title 42 is tantamount to advocating for racism, xenophobia, and cruel, inhumane, and unlawful treatment of people who are fleeing for their lives and exercising their right to seek asylum. This is what the Sinema and Lankford bill represents. We must end Title 42 once and for all.”

ON THE LACK OF PUBLIC HEALTH JUSTIFICATIONS FOR TITLE 42:

“The CDC and health experts around the country have made abundantly clear – there is no public health justification for the Title 42 order, which caused great harm and is unnecessary for protecting the health of the public on either side of our borders,” said Sophia Simon-Ortiz, MPH, Senior Public Health Organizer for Human Impact Partners. “It’s beyond time to focus on rebuilding our communities and protecting public health as we hopefully emerge from the pandemic, and not on returning to this indefensible, xenophobic, unequally applied, anti-Black, homo/transphobic Trump-era policy. Let the critical COVID funding go through and make the Title 42 order a shameful thing of the past.”  

“The CDC and public health experts have already made it clear that Title 42 has no public health standing. The Lankford-Sinema Bill is the latest attempt to appeal to unfounded fear instead of fact. The United States continues to put migrants’ safety and lives at grave risk, especially Black migrants who have been disproportionately impacted by Title 42,” said Amy Fischer, Americas Advocacy Director at Amnesty International USA. “Congress must improve access to asylum – not enforce xenophobic policies at a time when asylum is needed more than ever for people fleeing conflict, whether in Ukraine, Cameroon, Haiti, or elsewhere.”

“As public health experts, we have known from the start that the Title 42 border closure, which was implemented despite objections from CDC medical experts, has no legitimate basis in public health evidence or data,” said Solange Gould, Co-Director, Human Impact Partners. “Over the last two years, the Title 42 order has wreaked havoc at the southern border, caused harm, and separated families under the guise of public health. The CDC’s decision today to end the cruel and racist Title 42 order for all migrants is an essential first step to ensuring the safety and dignity of people seeking asylum in the U.S. — but it’s just the start. All people seeking asylum deserve care, all have families and communities, and all have a right to health and safety. Public health experts are ready to welcome and work with people seeking asylum to strengthen the conditions we all need for health and safety.”

“As physicians, we know that Title 42 keeps nobody safe. We have public health tools to protect us from Covid. And Congress linking Title 42 to blocking covid vaccine funding only increases our risk,” said Dr. Kate Sugarman of Doctors for Camp Closure.

ON TITLE 42 BEING AN INEFFECTIVE AND CRUEL BORDER POLICY:

“By expelling asylum seekers to Mexican border towns, Title 42 is depositing them into the hands of violent drug cartels, enabling the cartels’ violent abuse and ability to extort them for thousands of dollars a person,” said Sara Ramey, Executive Director of the Migrant Center for Human Rights. “Instead of continuing a program that funnels millions of dollars into the hands of the cartels every month, the U.S. should be assessing people’s protection claims.”

“For over two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has been used as an excuse to suspend the right to humanitarian protection for people fleeing violence and persecution in their home countries,” said Pedro De Velasco, Director of Education and Advocacy for the Kino Border Initiative. “The CDC has determined that there is no longer any justification to keep this suspension in place- not that there ever was. These Senators are determined to maintain the inhumane and unjust Title 42 and with it, prolong the suffering of people who have been waiting for more than two years to be heard. We and other service providers are ready to collaborate with the U.S. government to welcome people seeking asylum. It is time to stop the excuses, stop the injustice, and to end Title 42 now!”

“In their attempt to keep Title 42 expulsions in place, Senators Sinema and Lankford have demonstrated that Title 42 was never truly about public health,” said Quixote Center Executive Director Dr. Kim Lamberty. “Deterrence-based migration policies have been shown time and time again to be ineffective at stopping migration. Rather than ‘secure’ the border, Title 42 only serves to terrorize migrant families and prevent asylum seekers from presenting themselves at U.S. ports of entry. We must seize the opportunity to build a fair, just, and orderly asylum system.”

“This attempt to keep in place the inhumane and unlawful Title 42 policy is bad decision-making on all accounts and plays politics with human lives,” said Robyn Barnard, senior advocacy counsel for Refugee Protection of Human Rights First. “Every day that Title 42 remains in place will continue the chaos and disorder created by this expulsion policy. Lawmakers who support this bill have abandoned all pretense that it is justified on a public health basis and seek to continue what has not only been a catastrophic failure in terms of the gross human rights abuses it has caused, but also the detrimental impact on our border security. We urge all members of Congress to uphold the right to seek asylum and stand firm in rejecting policies of xenophobia.”

“On April 1st, we welcomed the Biden administration’s plan to end the immoral and inhumane Title 42 policy, which has been weaponized to expel over 1.7 million vulnerable individuals seeking refuge at the southern border without due process. We are deeply frustrated by this effort to keep Title 42 in place and strongly oppose this bill, which flies in the face of science all while ignoring the plight of those in desperate need of safety and their legal right to seek protection from persecution,” said Elissa Diaz, Associate Director of Policy and Advocacy at Church World Service. “Not only does this bill put the displaced at risk, it puts desperately-needed COVID-19 programs in jeopardy by tying them to immigration policy. It is long past time for the United States to honor the legal right to seek asylum and facilitate the humane and safe reception of people seeking refuge. We urge Congress to reject this bill and instead affirm the need to welcome people seeking safety. Faith communities and border communities stand willing and ready to welcome asylum seekers.”

“Once again, Washington politicians exhibit how detached they are from the realities border communities experience every day,” said Elket Rodriguez, Immigrants and Refugees Advocacy and Missions Specialist for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and Fellowship Southwest. “I will repeat what has been empirically proven ad nauseam: that expelling migrants and denying them access to asylum processing does not work to avoid the spread of COVID-19, deter migrants from seeking safety or address increases in border crossers. Quite the contrary, expelling migrants encourages repeat border crossers and increases the work of immigration officials.” 

“Title 42 was a Stephen Miller invention that weaponized U.S public health law to illegally deny people their right to seek safety in the United States, and the Biden administration was right to finally announce its end,” said Katharina Obser, Director of the Migrant Rights and Justice Program at the Women’s Refugee Commission. “The Lankford-Sinema bill would normalize a policy that has never been nor should ever be the norm for the U.S. asylum system. Lawmakers should not tie critical COVID relief to immigration policies that fly in the face of U.S. values. We urge all lawmakers to reject efforts that will only result in further harm and chaos.” 

“Title 42 should never have been used to deny asylum-seekers the chance to seek safety in our country,” said Donna Norton, Executive Vice President of MomsRising. “Continuing its mis-use would force asylum-seekers who are fleeing violence, persecution and war to return to the dangerous conditions that forced them to come here, without even having their asylum claims considered. That would be cruel and indefensible. America’s moms want lawmakers to create a just and fair process for considering asylum claims that treats all parties with dignity, not to continue Title 42.”

“We must stop playing politics with people’s lives,” says Chelsea Sachau, Managing Attorney of the Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project’s Border Action Team. “While we agree that there must be coordination between the government and NGOs to ensure a just and humane outcome, and in fact have been proactively seeking out opportunities for coordination for years, we do not believe there is any excuse to justify leaving people in harm’s way for even a moment longer.” 

The campaign’s recommendations to humanely restore our asylum system are available here.

The Welcome with Dignity Campaign is composed of more than 95  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: welcomewithdignity.org

###

#WelcomeWithDignity Applauds End of Title 42

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 1, 2022

CONTACT: press@welcomewithdignity.org

 

#WelcomeWithDignity Applauds End of Title 42

The administration’s move is a welcome first step, but they must not expel people fleeing danger in the interim

A recording of the call is available here.

 

Washington Today the #WelcomeWithDignity campaign applauded the CDC’s announcement today that it will terminate Title 42 by May 23rd. While the experts on the call welcomed the news, they expressed concern that the administration will continue plans to expel people fleeing persecution until then. As Guerline Jozef of the Haitian Bridge Alliance said, “protection delayed is protection denied.” The campaign echoed local border groups and service providers who call on the administration to collaborate with them to make sure the end of the policy is humane and orderly. 

 

Seeking asylum is a legal form of entry under U.S. law and a fundamental human right. #WelcomeWithDignity’s recommendations to restore asylum are available here.

 

“President Biden made the morally and legally right – and politically popular – decision to end Title 42, a cruel and harmful vestige of the Trump era” said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center and the NILC Immigrant Justice Fund. “We commend the Biden administration for moving to repeal this deadly and xenophobic policy. It is a significant step forward, even if it is long overdue.”

 

“We welcome and we applaud the news that the Biden-Harris administration is finally listening to the calls of advocates to terminate Title 42”, said Guerline Jozef, co-founder and Executive Director of Haitian Bridge Alliance. “This has been a long fight to restore access to protection for some of the most vulnerable people. Haitian Bridge Alliance has been advocating for an end to this Trump-era policy since April 2020 as a response to the increased expulsions of Haitian asylum seekers. As the Department of Homeland Security prepares to welcome our asylum seekers and refugees at the Southwest border with dignity on May 23, until then, we urge the administration to rethink their decision to continue to expel individuals back to unsafe conditions, especially to Haiti, without first determining standing for an asylum claim. In just a little over a year under this administration, over 21,000 people, including pregnant women and children have been sent to Haiti, most being expulsions. To welcome with dignity means that Title 42 ends for all, including for families and single adults of all nationalities, immediately.”

 

“There is no reason why the Biden administration cannot immediately restart asylum processing at ports of entry as we have seen them do for countless Ukrainians since mid-March,” said Melissa Crow, Director of Litigation at the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS) and co-counsel in Huisha-Huisha, challenging Title 42 expulsions of families, and Al Otro Lado v. Mayorkas, which successfully challenged the government’s policy of turning back asylum seekers at the southern border. “The administration has had 14 months to prepare and marshal the resources necessary. Moreover, our Al Otro Lado v. Mayorkas litigation has revealed that the government has far greater capacity to welcome asylum seekers than they acknowledge. The administration should resume processing without delay, and in close coordination with humanitarian organizations assisting asylum seekers at the ground.”

 

“The Women’s Refugee Commission commends the Biden administration for finally committing to lift this unlawful, cruel policy that has turned so many families and adults back to harm,” said Katharina Obser, director of the Migrant Rights and Justice Program at the Women’s Refugee Commission. “We will be watching closely to ensure that the administration follows through on that commitment. Over the next two months, the administration must meaningfully support and diligently coordinate with local humanitarian service providers to ensure that people seeking asylum have the support and welcome they need, and avoid any measures that punish or create additional obstacles to asylum. We urge the Biden administration to immediately cease expulsions to torture or persecution and build an asylum system that is just, orderly, and welcomes those seeking protection with dignity, including at ports of entry.”  

 

The Welcome with Dignity Campaign is composed of more than 95  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: welcomewithdignity.org

###

#WelcomeWithDignity Applauds End of Title 42

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 1, 2022

CONTACT: press@welcomewithdignity.org

ADVOCATES APPLAUD THE END OF TITLE 42; DEMAND NOT ONE MORE EXPULSION

The end of Title 42 is a welcome first step towards restoring our asylum system

 

Washington — The #WelcomeWithDignity campaign, the national campaign for asylum rights, welcomed the announcement from the Centers for Disease Control that it will terminate Title 42 on May 23rd. However, the campaign is deeply concerned that the government will continue to expel people fleeing persecution until then. The administration has rightfully exempted Ukrainians and unaccompanied children from expulsions during this period, and it must do so for all people seeking safety. 

 

“Ending Title 42 is both the morally right and legal thing to do, and the #WelcomeWithDignity campaign has tirelessly demanded its end as a crucial step toward the restoration of asylum for people fleeing for their lives,” said Melina Roche, #WelcomeWithDignity Campaign Manager. “For more than two years, Title 42 has cruelly prevented people from exercising their legal and human right to seek asylum, leading to unconscionable harm including kidnappings, assault, and death. The #WelcomeWithDignity campaign looks forward to working with the Biden administration to create a system that lives by our nation’s values and laws as it ends this illegal policy in a humane and orderly manner. Our campaign also continues to urge the administration to ensure that not a single person fearing persecution or torture is expelled, and that all seeking safety are welcomed with dignity. We urge the administration in these next two months to be in close coordination with service providers as it prepares for the formal end of the policy, and to build the fair, just, and humane asylum system that we know is possible.”

 

“We commend today’s decision from the Biden administration to bring an end to the lawlessness of Title 42 at the border. Policies like Title 42 and Remain in Mexico are a white nationalist’s exploitation of a pandemic and is contrary to public health measures per CDC scientists,” said Linda Corchado, Interim Executive Director at Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center. “Now is the time to do the real work of welcoming asylum seekers, uplifting the better angels of mercy, compassion, and due process that draw people to this country in the first place. Border communities will rise to this occasion again, no matter what challenges we face. It’s past due for the government to do the same.”

 

“We welcome and we applaud the news that the Biden-Harris administration is finally listening to the calls of advocates to terminate Title 42”, said Guerline Jozef, co-founder and Executive Director of Haitian Bridge Alliance. “This has been a long fight to restore access to protection for some of the most vulnerable people. Haitian Bridge Alliance has been advocating for an end to this Trump-era policy since April 2020 as a response to the increased expulsions of Haitian asylum seekers. As the Department of Homeland Security prepares to welcome our asylum seekers and refugees at the Southwest border with dignity on May 23, until then, we urge the administration to rethink their decision to continue to expel individuals back to unsafe conditions, especially to Haiti, without first determining standing for an asylum claim. In just a little over a year under this administration, over 21,000 people, including pregnant women and children have been sent to Haiti, most being expulsions. To welcome with dignity means that Title 42 ends for all, including for families and single adults of all nationalities, immediately. In addition, given the new asylum processing rule, we hope that part of the administration’s plan includes legal counsel and language services for all. As the only Black-led organization at the US-Mexico border, Haitian Bridge Alliance always stands ready to work with other border groups and the administration to ensure an orderly process free of discrimination.” 

 

“There is no reason why the Biden administration cannot immediately restart asylum processing at ports of entry as we have seen them do for countless Ukrainians since mid-March,” said Melissa Crow, Director of Litigation at the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS) and co-counsel in Huisha-Huisha, challenging Title 42 expulsions of families, and Al Otro Lado v. Mayorkas, which successfully challenged the government’s policy of turning back asylum seekers at the southern border. “The administration has had 14 months to prepare and marshal the resources necessary. Moreover, our Al Otro Lado v. Mayorkas litigation has revealed that the government has far greater capacity to welcome asylum seekers than they acknowledge. The administration should resume processing without delay, and in close coordination with humanitarian organizations assisting asylum seekers at the ground.”

 

“The CDC was right to end what has always been a discriminatory and politically motivated policy designed to shut down the US asylum system,” said Ari Sawyer, US border researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Over the next two months, the Biden administration should take meaningful steps to restore asylum at the border and begin processing in the thousands of asylum seekers who have been waiting for months or even years, often in life-threatening conditions, to exercise their legal right to seek protection. Biden has had more than a year to stand up humane processing at the southern border and should immediately coordinate with humanitarian organizations performing reception to welcome in rather than expel asylum seekers.”

 

“Today’s announcement by the CDC is deeply welcomed and would not have happened without the hard work of immigrant communities and advocates for the past two years,” said Karen Tumlin, founder and director at Justice Action Center. “We expect the Administration to move swiftly to ensure that the CDC order becomes real in human terms and results in the ability of all people seeking safety to be able to present their asylum claims— regardless of where they were born, the color of their skin, or whether they have children. Today’s order does not erase the pain of the last two years. The administration is obligated to ensure that service organizations at the border are well-supported to welcome the backlog of asylum seekers who have had their rights denied for far too long. All asylum seekers expelled to danger under the Biden and Trump Administrations must be returned to the U.S. to present their asylum claims. Ending Title 42 is just one step towards restoring the fair, orderly, and humane asylum system that President Biden campaigned on. We cannot celebrate until our clients can.”

 

“The end of Title 42 addresses a pivotal redirection of the Biden administration’s immigration policy approaches,” said Dr. Jessica Hernandez, Climate Justice Policy Strategist for International Mayan League. “However, we ask that the Biden administration also centers the rights of Black and Indigenous peoples from Haiti and Central America to seek refuge in the United States. May they stop the border patrol’s excessive violent approaches used against Black and Indigenous peoples from Haiti and Central America. May they also stop separating families at the border and enacting this trauma that many of our children will take years to heal from. We are expecting more and demand more from the administration that made promises for a more just immigration reform. ”

 

“We commend the Biden administration for announcing the termination of Title 42, a harmful policy that has put asylum-seeking children and families at risk of unnecessary danger for far too long. We call on the Biden Administration and Congress to continue this critical work to create a more just and humane system for processing asylum claims for all who seek safe haven in our country,” said Christy Gleason, Vice President of Policy, Advocacy and Campaigns at Save the Children. “We stand ready to work with the US government, border communities and partner organizations to ensure that we can meet the needs at the border. We have the capacity and compassion to restore our asylum system for all seeking safety and protection. Now is the time to act.”

 

“While we are relieved that the Centers for Disease Control will not be renewing Title 42, the administration’s plan to phase out the policy is simply not enough. President Biden promised to restore our asylum system and should have ended Title 42 the day he took office. The administration has had more than 14 months to plan for the end of Title 42. Implementing a wind down instead of ending the policy outright and immediately will put asylum seekers, especially those who identify as Black and LGBTQIA(+), at continued risk. The rape, torture, and kidnapping of those expelled under Title 42 is well-documented and rampant, and with the CDC’s announcement, it will continue for two more months. That is unacceptable,” said Tami Goodlette, Director of Litigation at RAICES. People fleeing danger in their home countries have the legal right to seek safety and protection in the United States. To protect that right, the administration must do two things. It must immediately end Title 42 and all expulsions so that not one more person is subjected to the deadly and terrifying conditions created by this cruel and racist Trump-era policy.  And it must also  immediately restore the asylum process without expanding the country’s mass incarceration and deportation machine. For two years and under two administrations, the government has used Title 42 to block more than 1.7 million migrants from seeking safety at our border under the guise of public health. But Title 42 was never about public health and it needs to end right now.”

 

“While we commend the Biden administration for moving in the right direction, it is unacceptable to refuse to consider asylum cases over the next two months,” said Sara Ramey, Executive Director of the Migrant Center for Human Rights. “Misusing the Title 42 health statute for the alleged purpose of creating a border processing system that is already in place shows a blatant disregard for our laws and treaty obligations.”

 

“We applaud CDC Director Rochelle Walensky for finally ending the inhumane and racist Title 42 order; however, we are disappointed by Secretary Mayorkas’s statement that Title 42 expulsions will continue until May 23rd,” said Dr. Kim Lamberty, Executive Director of the Quixote Center. “We continue to call on the Biden Administration to cease treating asylum seekers as criminals, and instead approach vulnerable children, families, and single adults with the dignity and care that they deserve. Over the next two months, the Biden administration must extend to Black and brown migrants fleeing violence in their home countries the very same welcoming that has been granted to Ukrainian refugees, and also work with communities and advocates to restore fair and just asylum processing at the border. “

 

“Title 42 has never been about protecting public health, but is instead an illegal and xenophobic attack on migrant rights that the Biden administration is right to end,” said Jennifer Babaie, U.S.-Mexico Border Program Director at the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP). “The policy has amounted to a de facto asylum ban at the U.S.-Mexico border that has disproportionately impacted the ability of Black, Indigenous, and LGBTQIA people to find lasting refuge. Rather than wait until May 23, the administration should act quickly to end Title 42 and begin coordinating with local service providers immediately to expand processing capacity without relying on equally inhumane policies like Remain in Mexico, metering, or mass detention. IRAP also calls on the Biden administration to commit to never again misusing public health measures to restrict or deny the right to seek asylum. The response of neighboring countries to people fleeing the war in Ukraine has shown that it is possible to quickly and humanely welcome displaced people in need of safety, and the U.S. has an opportunity to model the same principles at its own borders.”

 

“Since March 2020, Title 42 has caused countless family separations at our border. The end of this cruel and unlawful policy, which denies people their legal right to seek protection, is a victory for everyone. It’s also an important first step to restoring asylum and correcting course to welcome and provide safe haven for people seeking protection,” said Young Center Senior Policy Analyst for Child Protection Mary Miller Flowers. “The Biden administration must work closely with border communities to end Title 42 swiftly and welcome migrants who have been denied safety for more than two years.”

 

“For the last six years, asylum seekers have been under assault by the U.S. government. Title 42 represents the greatest assault on access to the asylum process of our time. It caused chaos along the border, immeasurable harm to innocent people seeking protection in the United States, and diminished our nation’s global standing as a beacon of hope and safety. Ending the unjustified use of this policy is a long overdue step in restoring our nation’s values and history of welcoming those seeking protection. We should work toward creating a flexible humanitarian protection system that is safe, humane, and orderly—respecting the lawful right to seek asylum and that can respond in times of global displacement,” said Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, Senior Policy Counsel at the American Immigration Council.

 

“This long-awaited change in U.S. immigration policy is the beginning of justice for asylum seekers who have been shunned by the U.S. government unfairly for far too long,” said Margaret Cargioli, Directing Attorney at the Immigrant Defenders Law Center.” While we wait for the implementation of this change to take place humanitarian parole applications for vulnerable asylum seekers must be processed. Additionally, it is incredibly important that the Biden administration distribute clear information to legal service and humanitarian organizations who are serving migrants on-the-ground to combat misinformation and inform people of how they can finally safely access our asylum system come May 23rd.” 

 

“Border communities welcome the news that we are seeing an end to Title 42,” said Dylan Corbett, executive director of the Hope Border Institute. “With strong collaboration and support from the administration, we can safely and humanely receive those seeking asylum. This is a moment not only to begin to rebuild, but to dream of a future where all those in need of protection are welcomed and protected with dignity and compassion. 

 

“Today’s announcement by the CDC that the Title 42 order will be terminated on May 23 is welcome news,” said Laura St. John, Legal Director of the Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project. “This would not have happened without the courageous migrants who organized and protested against this policy and who marched in the streets as recently as last week in defense of their right to seek protection in the United States. Despite the relief we feel at today’s news, it does not change the horror that this policy has inflicted on tens of thousands of people for the last two years. We will continue to work tirelessly until every person seeking protection is able to do so, as is their right under U.S. and international law. We now call on the Biden administration to act swiftly to ensure that the planned return to humane, fair, and safe border processing lives up to this administration’s promises. That necessarily includes working openly and collaboratively with partner organizations on the ground, like ours, to welcome all people seeking protection with dignity.”

 

“The Biden administration’s termination of Title 42 is long overdue,” said Blaine Bookey, Legal Director of the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS). “From day one, Title 42 has been a bald-faced attempt to punish and endanger people seeking refuge, violating U.S. and international law in the process. As the administration embarks on its wind-down process, it must take immediate steps to protect lives.”

 

“President Biden made the morally and legally right – and politically popular – decision to end Title 42, a cruel and harmful vestige of the Trump era” said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center and the NILC Immigrant Justice Fund. “We commend the Biden administration for moving to repeal this deadly and xenophobic policy. It is a significant step forward, even if it is long overdue.”

 

“JRS/USA welcomes today’s announcement that the Administration will terminate Title 42,” said Joan Rosenhauer, Executive Director, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA. “Earlier this week, we released a statement in partnership with Jesuit law schools and other Jesuit institutions calling for an end to this harmful policy which has caused irreparable harm to the lives of more than 1 million migrants and asylum seekers. Everyone has the legal right to petition for asylum in the United States and we look forward to working with the Administration to ensure the U.S. rebuilds and restores this critical system.”

 

“Today’s decision was the result of steadfast advocacy by Black and Brown immigrant leaders calling for a just and humane asylum system that upholds U.S. and international law and basic morality for everyone,” said Lisa Parisio, Director of Advocacy, of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., or CLINIC. “We will not forget the lives lost and those harmed by this illegal and racist policy. Now we call on the Biden administration to work quickly to ensure proper implementation of this decision and to go further and build an asylum system that welcomes all who are fleeing for their lives with dignity. CLINIC will continue to stand by asylum seekers and our partners to hold the Biden administration accountable to its promises and reject the politicization of human life.”  

 

Jewish Activists for Immigration Justice Western Massachusetts expresses relief that the Biden administration and CDC are finally working together to rescind the horrendously cruel Trump-led policy, Title 42.  As Jews, our commitment to upholding asylum rights in our country is steadfast.  We continue to urge our elected officials to treat all people fleeing persecution and violence with fairness, respect and humanity and uphold the national and international laws that protect the right to seek asylum, no matter what their country of origin, race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation.  We urge the administration to give careful thought to keeping families together, to expand the definition of family to include extended family members, to address medical, housing and nutritional needs of asylum seekers, to coordinate with service agencies already existing at points of entry, and to find our humanity within the flow of the legal process including timeliness and fair  due process”

 

“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, said Jonathan Blazer, director of border strategies at the ACLU. “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.”

 

“Finally, we can look forward to the end of the Title 42 policy, one of the most inhumane immigration policies ever implemented at the U.S. southern border. While PHR welcomes the CDC’s plans to rescind this harmful order, it’s critical that the U.S. government acknowledge its misuse of public health to deny the right to seek asylum for more than two years, and to ensure that racist and xenophobic narratives cannot be wielded again to end asylum at the border, in contravention of U.S. and international law,” said Michele Heisler, MD, MPA, medical director at PHR and professor of internal medicine and public health at the University of Michigan. Since March 2020, PHR has joined countless public health experts in calling for an end to the Title 42 border expulsion order: there is simply no epidemiological evidence to justify banning only asylum seekers from the United States while keeping the borders open to other travelers. In reality, the scientifically baseless and politically motivated order has severely harmed the health and human rights of children, families, and single adults by exposing them to violence, separating families, and inflicting acute medical and psychological impacts on asylum-seeking children and adults, including high rates of post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression. As medical and public health experts, we affirm that there is not now, nor ever was, a public health justification for Title 42 expulsions. The United States needs to ensure a trauma-informed and rights-respecting approach to border management and asylum processing moving forward.” 

 

“For too long this inhumane and xenophobic policy forced or returned the world’s most vulnerable to danger, its termination is a vital first step towards removing a policy rooted in fear and hate. While we welcome this decision, we call on the administration to immediately halt all expulsions of asylum seekers and work closely with groups and communities who have continuously stood ready to welcome them, including faith communities.” said Elissa Diaz, Associate Director of Policy and Advocacy. “Title 42 weaponized the COVID-19 pandemic, operating under the guise of public health to forcefully block access to safety from over a million men, women and children. Public health experts, including former CDC officials, consistently stated this illegal and immoral policy lacks rationale, and further harms individuals seeking safety. Each day it remains in place and expulsions continue, lives remain in danger—with a disproportionate impact on Black migrants and members of the LGBTQIA+ community. We urge the administration to honor its commitment to restore and expand a just and humane asylum system that welcomes people with dignity, without discrimination.”

 

“It is a relief that President Biden has heard immigrants, advocates and faith leaders call to end the Title 42 expulsion policy. However, we are dismayed at the delay in terminating this policy. For many asylum seekers, especially Black immigrants at our southern border, delay means danger and death, said Ronnate Asirwatham, Government Relations Director, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice.  “The Biden administration has had two years to prepare for the end of Title 42. We call on the Administration to work with our faith and secular colleagues who are ready to welcome immigrants at the border as partners in order to restore a humane and just asylum system.” 

 

“We applaud the Biden Administration’s decision to finally end Title 42, which for two years has caused untold harm and denied protection to people seeking safety at our borders,” said Daniella Burgi-Palomino, LAWG Co-director. “The decision to turn the page on this cruel policy is long overdue. We now urge the Biden Administration to act quickly and rather than wait two months, begin coordination with organizations to wind down the policy immediately. Continuing expulsions in the meantime will only mean more suffering for families and adults. The end of Title 42 should mean the establishment of a fair, orderly and humane process at our border allowing men, women, families and children a chance to make their claims heard. It is time, once again, for the United States to be a beacon to those seeking refuge from around the world.” 

 

“For two years, advocates have been fighting for an end to Title 42 and restoring our asylum system so that families seeking refuge can do so in our country. Today, we can finally welcome the announcement we have been waiting for about the end of Title 42 by May 23rd,” said Basma Alawee, Campaign Manager at We Are All America. “While there is still more to be done to restore our asylum system, ending Title is a massive win for many families and individuals seeking safety. Now, it is up to us to welcome asylum seekers with dignity.”

 

“The Women’s Refugee Commission commends the Biden administration for finally committing to lift this unlawful, cruel policy that has turned so many families and adults back to harm,” said Katharina Obser, director of the Migrant Rights and Justice Program at the Women’s Refugee Commission. “We will be watching closely to ensure that the administration follows through on that commitment. Over the next two months, the administration must meaningfully support and diligently coordinate with local humanitarian service providers to ensure that people seeking asylum have the support and welcome they need, and avoid any measures that punish or create additional obstacles to asylum. We urge the Biden administration to immediately cease expulsions to torture or persecution and build an asylum system that is just, orderly, and welcomes those seeking protection with dignity, including at ports of entry.”  

 

“The Advocates for Human Rights welcomes today’s long-overdue announcement of the administration’s plan to end Title 42. The program has been disproportionately used to deny Black and brown people access to protections guaranteed under international human rights law. There is no reason to wait until the end of May, and the United States must immediately ensure no one is returned to face persecution, torture, or other human rights violations in their home countries or elsewhere. But the United States must do more than not violate international law. We need to build a humane reception system that safely and quickly registers people seeking protection at the U.S. border, rejects the use of immigration jail, and provides community-based support so people understand their legal rights and obligations, as they wait in safety for their cases to be decided. And we need a fair, effective, and timely system that ensures protection consistent with refugee and human rights treaties and an opportunity for asylum seekers to support themselves and their families while they wait for a decision.” Said Michele Garnett McKenzie from The Advocates for Human Rights

 

“We welcome the decision to terminate this horrific policy which has inflicted grave human rights abuses on people seeking refuge in the United States, and urge a swift and final end to this humanitarian travesty,” said Eleanor Acer, senior director for refugee protection at Human Rights First. “During the termination implementation period, the Biden administration should quickly restart asylum at ports of entry, end the discriminatory double standards in access to asylum and halt expulsions of asylum seekers to persecution and torture immediately. After two years of tracking the brutal kidnappings, torture and assaults inflicted on the victims of Title 42, we know all too well that human lives are on the line.”   

 

The Welcome with Dignity Campaign is composed of more than 95  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: welcomewithdignity.org

###

Advocates Welcome End Of Title 42; Demand Not One More Expulsion

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 1, 2022

CONTACT: press@welcomewithdignity.org

ADVOCATES APPLAUD THE END OF TITLE 42; DEMAND NOT ONE MORE EXPULSION

The end of Title 42 is a welcome first step towards restoring our asylum system

 

Washington — The #WelcomeWithDignity campaign, the national campaign for asylum rights, welcomed the announcement from the Centers for Disease Control that it will terminate Title 42 on May 23rd. However, the campaign is deeply concerned that the government will continue to expel people fleeing persecution until then. The administration has rightfully exempted Ukrainians and unaccompanied children from expulsions during this period, and it must do so for all people seeking safety. 

 

“Ending Title 42 is both the morally right and legal thing to do, and the #WelcomeWithDignity campaign has tirelessly demanded its end as a crucial step toward the restoration of asylum for people fleeing for their lives,” said Melina Roche, #WelcomeWithDignity Campaign Manager. “For more than two years, Title 42 has cruelly prevented people from exercising their legal and human right to seek asylum, leading to unconscionable harm including kidnappings, assault, and death. The #WelcomeWithDignity campaign looks forward to working with the Biden administration to create a system that lives by our nation’s values and laws as it ends this illegal policy in a humane and orderly manner. Our campaign also continues to urge the administration to ensure that not a single person fearing persecution or torture is expelled, and that all seeking safety are welcomed with dignity. We urge the administration in these next two months to be in close coordination with service providers as it prepares for the formal end of the policy, and to build the fair, just, and humane asylum system that we know is possible.”

“The announcement of an end to the Title 42 policy is a huge testament  to the perseverance of activists who have spent the past two years fighting against the draconian rule that forced people back into danger under the guise of public health constraints. Ending Title 42 will be an important first step in restoring our commitment to asylum and creating a humane system that treats people at our borders with dignity,” said Erin Mazursky, Interim Director of Families Belong Together. “However, today’s statements also confirmed that the Department of Homeland Security would not put a stop to expedited removals – which has wreaked havoc on Black and brown migrants – until the May 23rd expiration date. To be clear, every day Mayorkas and DHS allow expulsions puts people at risk of being kidnapped, raped or murder. That is the human cost of this policy. DHS has proven that they can act when vulnerable people around the world are facing violence– if we can open our borders to Ukrainian families escaping the horrors of war, we can do so for the Black and brown children, families and adults who have been fleeing similar violence and waiting at the border for months, or years, because of  this policy. The hypocrisy of continuing expulsions through May exposes the racism ingrained in our immigratoin system and  shows that Title 42 has never been about public health, and has always been about keeping certain people out. Enough is enough. The administration needs to end expulsions immediately. We cannot settle for anything less.”

 

“We commend today’s decision from the Biden administration to bring an end to the lawlessness of Title 42 at the border. Policies like Title 42 and Remain in Mexico are a white nationalist’s exploitation of a pandemic and is contrary to public health measures per CDC scientists,” said Linda Corchado, Interim Executive Director at Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center. “Now is the time to do the real work of welcoming asylum seekers, uplifting the better angels of mercy, compassion, and due process that draw people to this country in the first place. Border communities will rise to this occasion again, no matter what challenges we face. It’s past due for the government to do the same.”

 

“We welcome and we applaud the news that the Biden-Harris administration is finally listening to the calls of advocates to terminate Title 42”, said Guerline Jozef, co-founder and Executive Director of Haitian Bridge Alliance. “This has been a long fight to restore access to protection for some of the most vulnerable people. Haitian Bridge Alliance has been advocating for an end to this Trump-era policy since April 2020 as a response to the increased expulsions of Haitian asylum seekers. As the Department of Homeland Security prepares to welcome our asylum seekers and refugees at the Southwest border with dignity on May 23, until then, we urge the administration to rethink their decision to continue to expel individuals back to unsafe conditions, especially to Haiti, without first determining standing for an asylum claim. In just a little over a year under this administration, over 21,000 people, including pregnant women and children have been sent to Haiti, most being expulsions. To welcome with dignity means that Title 42 ends for all, including for families and single adults of all nationalities, immediately. In addition, given the new asylum processing rule, we hope that part of the administration’s plan includes legal counsel and language services for all. As the only Black-led organization at the US-Mexico border, Haitian Bridge Alliance always stands ready to work with other border groups and the administration to ensure an orderly process free of discrimination.” 

 

“There is no reason why the Biden administration cannot immediately restart asylum processing at ports of entry as we have seen them do for countless Ukrainians since mid-March,” said Melissa Crow, Director of Litigation at the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS) and co-counsel in Huisha-Huisha, challenging Title 42 expulsions of families, and Al Otro Lado v. Mayorkas, which successfully challenged the government’s policy of turning back asylum seekers at the southern border. “The administration has had 14 months to prepare and marshal the resources necessary. Moreover, our Al Otro Lado v. Mayorkas litigation has revealed that the government has far greater capacity to welcome asylum seekers than they acknowledge. The administration should resume processing without delay, and in close coordination with humanitarian organizations assisting asylum seekers at the ground.”

 

“The CDC was right to end what has always been a discriminatory and politically motivated policy designed to shut down the US asylum system,” said Ari Sawyer, US border researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Over the next two months, the Biden administration should take meaningful steps to restore asylum at the border and begin processing in the thousands of asylum seekers who have been waiting for months or even years, often in life-threatening conditions, to exercise their legal right to seek protection. Biden has had more than a year to stand up humane processing at the southern border and should immediately coordinate with humanitarian organizations performing reception to welcome in rather than expel asylum seekers.”

 

“Today’s announcement by the CDC is deeply welcomed and would not have happened without the hard work of immigrant communities and advocates for the past two years,” said Karen Tumlin, founder and director at Justice Action Center. “We expect the Administration to move swiftly to ensure that the CDC order becomes real in human terms and results in the ability of all people seeking safety to be able to present their asylum claims— regardless of where they were born, the color of their skin, or whether they have children. Today’s order does not erase the pain of the last two years. The administration is obligated to ensure that service organizations at the border are well-supported to welcome the backlog of asylum seekers who have had their rights denied for far too long. All asylum seekers expelled to danger under the Biden and Trump Administrations must be returned to the U.S. to present their asylum claims. Ending Title 42 is just one step towards restoring the fair, orderly, and humane asylum system that President Biden campaigned on. We cannot celebrate until our clients can.”

 

“The end of Title 42 addresses a pivotal redirection of the Biden administration’s immigration policy approaches,” said Dr. Jessica Hernandez, Climate Justice Policy Strategist for International Mayan League. “However, we ask that the Biden administration also centers the rights of Black and Indigenous peoples from Haiti and Central America to seek refuge in the United States. May they stop the border patrol’s excessive violent approaches used against Black and Indigenous peoples from Haiti and Central America. May they also stop separating families at the border and enacting this trauma that many of our children will take years to heal from. We are expecting more and demand more from the administration that made promises for a more just immigration reform. ”

 

“We commend the Biden administration for announcing the termination of Title 42, a harmful policy that has put asylum-seeking children and families at risk of unnecessary danger for far too long. We call on the Biden Administration and Congress to continue this critical work to create a more just and humane system for processing asylum claims for all who seek safe haven in our country,” said Christy Gleason, Vice President of Policy, Advocacy and Campaigns at Save the Children. “We stand ready to work with the US government, border communities and partner organizations to ensure that we can meet the needs at the border. We have the capacity and compassion to restore our asylum system for all seeking safety and protection. Now is the time to act.”

 

“While we are relieved that the Centers for Disease Control will not be renewing Title 42, the administration’s plan to phase out the policy is simply not enough. President Biden promised to restore our asylum system and should have ended Title 42 the day he took office. The administration has had more than 14 months to plan for the end of Title 42. Implementing a wind down instead of ending the policy outright and immediately will put asylum seekers, especially those who identify as Black and LGBTQIA(+), at continued risk. The rape, torture, and kidnapping of those expelled under Title 42 is well-documented and rampant, and with the CDC’s announcement, it will continue for two more months. That is unacceptable,” said Tami Goodlette, Director of Litigation at RAICES. People fleeing danger in their home countries have the legal right to seek safety and protection in the United States. To protect that right, the administration must do two things. It must immediately end Title 42 and all expulsions so that not one more person is subjected to the deadly and terrifying conditions created by this cruel and racist Trump-era policy.  And it must also  immediately restore the asylum process without expanding the country’s mass incarceration and deportation machine. For two years and under two administrations, the government has used Title 42 to block more than 1.7 million migrants from seeking safety at our border under the guise of public health. But Title 42 was never about public health and it needs to end right now.”

 

“While we commend the Biden administration for moving in the right direction, it is unacceptable to refuse to consider asylum cases over the next two months,” said Sara Ramey, Executive Director of the Migrant Center for Human Rights. “Misusing the Title 42 health statute for the alleged purpose of creating a border processing system that is already in place shows a blatant disregard for our laws and treaty obligations.”

 

“We applaud CDC Director Rochelle Walensky for finally ending the inhumane and racist Title 42 order; however, we are disappointed by Secretary Mayorkas’s statement that Title 42 expulsions will continue until May 23rd,” said Dr. Kim Lamberty, Executive Director of the Quixote Center. “We continue to call on the Biden Administration to cease treating asylum seekers as criminals, and instead approach vulnerable children, families, and single adults with the dignity and care that they deserve. Over the next two months, the Biden administration must extend to Black and brown migrants fleeing violence in their home countries the very same welcoming that has been granted to Ukrainian refugees, and also work with communities and advocates to restore fair and just asylum processing at the border. “

 

“Title 42 has never been about protecting public health, but is instead an illegal and xenophobic attack on migrant rights that the Biden administration is right to end,” said Jennifer Babaie, U.S.-Mexico Border Program Director at the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP). “The policy has amounted to a de facto asylum ban at the U.S.-Mexico border that has disproportionately impacted the ability of Black, Indigenous, and LGBTQIA people to find lasting refuge. Rather than wait until May 23, the administration should act quickly to end Title 42 and begin coordinating with local service providers immediately to expand processing capacity without relying on equally inhumane policies like Remain in Mexico, metering, or mass detention. IRAP also calls on the Biden administration to commit to never again misusing public health measures to restrict or deny the right to seek asylum. The response of neighboring countries to people fleeing the war in Ukraine has shown that it is possible to quickly and humanely welcome displaced people in need of safety, and the U.S. has an opportunity to model the same principles at its own borders.”

 

“Since March 2020, Title 42 has caused countless family separations at our border. The end of this cruel and unlawful policy, which denies people their legal right to seek protection, is a victory for everyone. It’s also an important first step to restoring asylum and correcting course to welcome and provide safe haven for people seeking protection,” said Young Center Senior Policy Analyst for Child Protection Mary Miller Flowers. “The Biden administration must work closely with border communities to end Title 42 swiftly and welcome migrants who have been denied safety for more than two years.”

 

“For the last six years, asylum seekers have been under assault by the U.S. government. Title 42 represents the greatest assault on access to the asylum process of our time. It caused chaos along the border, immeasurable harm to innocent people seeking protection in the United States, and diminished our nation’s global standing as a beacon of hope and safety. Ending the unjustified use of this policy is a long overdue step in restoring our nation’s values and history of welcoming those seeking protection. We should work toward creating a flexible humanitarian protection system that is safe, humane, and orderly—respecting the lawful right to seek asylum and that can respond in times of global displacement,” said Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, Senior Policy Counsel at the American Immigration Council.

 

“This long-awaited change in U.S. immigration policy is the beginning of justice for asylum seekers who have been shunned by the U.S. government unfairly for far too long,” said Margaret Cargioli, Directing Attorney at the Immigrant Defenders Law Center.” While we wait for the implementation of this change to take place humanitarian parole applications for vulnerable asylum seekers must be processed. Additionally, it is incredibly important that the Biden administration distribute clear information to legal service and humanitarian organizations who are serving migrants on-the-ground to combat misinformation and inform people of how they can finally safely access our asylum system come May 23rd.” 

 

“Border communities welcome the news that we are seeing an end to Title 42,” said Dylan Corbett, executive director of the Hope Border Institute. “With strong collaboration and support from the administration, we can safely and humanely receive those seeking asylum. This is a moment not only to begin to rebuild, but to dream of a future where all those in need of protection are welcomed and protected with dignity and compassion. 

 

“Today’s announcement by the CDC that the Title 42 order will be terminated on May 23 is welcome news,” said Laura St. John, Legal Director of the Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project. “This would not have happened without the courageous migrants who organized and protested against this policy and who marched in the streets as recently as last week in defense of their right to seek protection in the United States. Despite the relief we feel at today’s news, it does not change the horror that this policy has inflicted on tens of thousands of people for the last two years. We will continue to work tirelessly until every person seeking protection is able to do so, as is their right under U.S. and international law. We now call on the Biden administration to act swiftly to ensure that the planned return to humane, fair, and safe border processing lives up to this administration’s promises. That necessarily includes working openly and collaboratively with partner organizations on the ground, like ours, to welcome all people seeking protection with dignity.”

 

“The Biden administration’s termination of Title 42 is long overdue,” said Blaine Bookey, Legal Director of the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS). “From day one, Title 42 has been a bald-faced attempt to punish and endanger people seeking refuge, violating U.S. and international law in the process. As the administration embarks on its wind-down process, it must take immediate steps to protect lives.”

 

“President Biden made the morally and legally right – and politically popular – decision to end Title 42, a cruel and harmful vestige of the Trump era” said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center and the NILC Immigrant Justice Fund. “We commend the Biden administration for moving to repeal this deadly and xenophobic policy. It is a significant step forward, even if it is long overdue.”

 

“JRS/USA welcomes today’s announcement that the Administration will terminate Title 42,” said Joan Rosenhauer, Executive Director, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA. “Earlier this week, we released a statement in partnership with Jesuit law schools and other Jesuit institutions calling for an end to this harmful policy which has caused irreparable harm to the lives of more than 1 million migrants and asylum seekers. Everyone has the legal right to petition for asylum in the United States and we look forward to working with the Administration to ensure the U.S. rebuilds and restores this critical system.”

 

“Today’s decision was the result of steadfast advocacy by Black and Brown immigrant leaders calling for a just and humane asylum system that upholds U.S. and international law and basic morality for everyone,” said Lisa Parisio, Director of Advocacy, of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., or CLINIC. “We will not forget the lives lost and those harmed by this illegal and racist policy. Now we call on the Biden administration to work quickly to ensure proper implementation of this decision and to go further and build an asylum system that welcomes all who are fleeing for their lives with dignity. CLINIC will continue to stand by asylum seekers and our partners to hold the Biden administration accountable to its promises and reject the politicization of human life.”  

 

Jewish Activists for Immigration Justice Western Massachusetts expresses relief that the Biden administration and CDC are finally working together to rescind the horrendously cruel Trump-led policy, Title 42.  As Jews, our commitment to upholding asylum rights in our country is steadfast.  We continue to urge our elected officials to treat all people fleeing persecution and violence with fairness, respect and humanity and uphold the national and international laws that protect the right to seek asylum, no matter what their country of origin, race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation.  We urge the administration to give careful thought to keeping families together, to expand the definition of family to include extended family members, to address medical, housing and nutritional needs of asylum seekers, to coordinate with service agencies already existing at points of entry, and to find our humanity within the flow of the legal process including timeliness and fair  due process”

 

“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, said Jonathan Blazer, director of border strategies at the ACLU. “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.”

 

“Finally, we can look forward to the end of the Title 42 policy, one of the most inhumane immigration policies ever implemented at the U.S. southern border. While PHR welcomes the CDC’s plans to rescind this harmful order, it’s critical that the U.S. government acknowledge its misuse of public health to deny the right to seek asylum for more than two years, and to ensure that racist and xenophobic narratives cannot be wielded again to end asylum at the border, in contravention of U.S. and international law,” said Michele Heisler, MD, MPA, medical director at PHR and professor of internal medicine and public health at the University of Michigan. Since March 2020, PHR has joined countless public health experts in calling for an end to the Title 42 border expulsion order: there is simply no epidemiological evidence to justify banning only asylum seekers from the United States while keeping the borders open to other travelers. In reality, the scientifically baseless and politically motivated order has severely harmed the health and human rights of children, families, and single adults by exposing them to violence, separating families, and inflicting acute medical and psychological impacts on asylum-seeking children and adults, including high rates of post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression. As medical and public health experts, we affirm that there is not now, nor ever was, a public health justification for Title 42 expulsions. The United States needs to ensure a trauma-informed and rights-respecting approach to border management and asylum processing moving forward.” 

 

“For too long this inhumane and xenophobic policy forced or returned the world’s most vulnerable to danger, its termination is a vital first step towards removing a policy rooted in fear and hate. While we welcome this decision, we call on the administration to immediately halt all expulsions of asylum seekers and work closely with groups and communities who have continuously stood ready to welcome them, including faith communities.” said Elissa Diaz, Associate Director of Policy and Advocacy. “Title 42 weaponized the COVID-19 pandemic, operating under the guise of public health to forcefully block access to safety from over a million men, women and children. Public health experts, including former CDC officials, consistently stated this illegal and immoral policy lacks rationale, and further harms individuals seeking safety. Each day it remains in place and expulsions continue, lives remain in danger—with a disproportionate impact on Black migrants and members of the LGBTQIA+ community. We urge the administration to honor its commitment to restore and expand a just and humane asylum system that welcomes people with dignity, without discrimination.”

 

“It is a relief that President Biden has heard immigrants, advocates and faith leaders call to end the Title 42 expulsion policy. However, we are dismayed at the delay in terminating this policy. For many asylum seekers, especially Black immigrants at our southern border, delay means danger and death, said Ronnate Asirwatham, Government Relations Director, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice.  “The Biden administration has had two years to prepare for the end of Title 42. We call on the Administration to work with our faith and secular colleagues who are ready to welcome immigrants at the border as partners in order to restore a humane and just asylum system.” 

 

“We applaud the Biden Administration’s decision to finally end Title 42, which for two years has caused untold harm and denied protection to people seeking safety at our borders,” said Daniella Burgi-Palomino, LAWG Co-director. “The decision to turn the page on this cruel policy is long overdue. We now urge the Biden Administration to act quickly and rather than wait two months, begin coordination with organizations to wind down the policy immediately. Continuing expulsions in the meantime will only mean more suffering for families and adults. The end of Title 42 should mean the establishment of a fair, orderly and humane process at our border allowing men, women, families and children a chance to make their claims heard. It is time, once again, for the United States to be a beacon to those seeking refuge from around the world.” 

 

“For two years, advocates have been fighting for an end to Title 42 and restoring our asylum system so that families seeking refuge can do so in our country. Today, we can finally welcome the announcement we have been waiting for about the end of Title 42 by May 23rd,” said Basma Alawee, Campaign Manager at We Are All America. “While there is still more to be done to restore our asylum system, ending Title is a massive win for many families and individuals seeking safety. Now, it is up to us to welcome asylum seekers with dignity.”

 

“The Women’s Refugee Commission commends the Biden administration for finally committing to lift this unlawful, cruel policy that has turned so many families and adults back to harm,” said Katharina Obser, director of the Migrant Rights and Justice Program at the Women’s Refugee Commission. “We will be watching closely to ensure that the administration follows through on that commitment. Over the next two months, the administration must meaningfully support and diligently coordinate with local humanitarian service providers to ensure that people seeking asylum have the support and welcome they need, and avoid any measures that punish or create additional obstacles to asylum. We urge the Biden administration to immediately cease expulsions to torture or persecution and build an asylum system that is just, orderly, and welcomes those seeking protection with dignity, including at ports of entry.”  

 

“The Advocates for Human Rights welcomes today’s long-overdue announcement of the administration’s plan to end Title 42. The program has been disproportionately used to deny Black and brown people access to protections guaranteed under international human rights law. There is no reason to wait until the end of May, and the United States must immediately ensure no one is returned to face persecution, torture, or other human rights violations in their home countries or elsewhere. But the United States must do more than not violate international law. We need to build a humane reception system that safely and quickly registers people seeking protection at the U.S. border, rejects the use of immigration jail, and provides community-based support so people understand their legal rights and obligations, as they wait in safety for their cases to be decided. And we need a fair, effective, and timely system that ensures protection consistent with refugee and human rights treaties and an opportunity for asylum seekers to support themselves and their families while they wait for a decision.” Said Michele Garnett McKenzie from The Advocates for Human Rights

 

“We welcome the decision to terminate this horrific policy which has inflicted grave human rights abuses on people seeking refuge in the United States, and urge a swift and final end to this humanitarian travesty,” said Eleanor Acer, senior director for refugee protection at Human Rights First. “During the termination implementation period, the Biden administration should quickly restart asylum at ports of entry, end the discriminatory double standards in access to asylum and halt expulsions of asylum seekers to persecution and torture immediately. After two years of tracking the brutal kidnappings, torture and assaults inflicted on the victims of Title 42, we know all too well that human lives are on the line.”   

 

The Welcome with Dignity Campaign is composed of more than 95  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: welcomewithdignity.org

###

REP. CHU, REP. ESCOBAR JOIN ADVOCATES TO DEMAND A HUMANE END TO TITLE 42

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 31, 2022

CONTACT: press@welcomewithdignity.org

 

REP. CHU, REP. ESCOBAR JOIN ADVOCATES TO DEMAND A HUMANE END TO TITLE 42

A link to the recording can be found here.

 

Washington — As multiple sources are reporting that the Biden administration is considering a repeal of the deadly Trump-era anti-asylum policy known as Title 42, the #WelcomeWithDignity campaign held its third press call of the week demanding the Centers for Disease Control follow the science and put an end to the misuse of the public health authority to unjustly expel refugees from our borders. 

 

“If the public health crisis is lifted for some, it must be lifted for all. There’s no justification for Title 42 to apply to some but not all at the border,” said Representative Judy Chu (CA-27). “I have every faith that this administration has the resources to process our borders in a humane and efficient manner. We want to return to due process and recognizing human dignity.”

“President Biden inherited an immigration system that is not only broken but has been neglected by the previous administration,” said Representative Veronica Escobar (TX-16). “The federal government should stand to learn from nimble and loving communities like mine – communities on the U.S.-Mexico border. I’ve called on Secretary Blinken and Secretary Mayorkas to change the way we process migrants at the border in a humane and strategic way that restores dignity to vulnerable populations and puts Border Patrol agencies and Office of Field Operations officers back to their jobs.”

“It is encouraging and heartening to see the outpouring of compassion and support for Ukrainians, the world’s newest refugees,” said Melanie Nezer, Senior Vice President of Global Affairs, HIAS. “But under U.S. and international law, all people have the legal right to seek asylum. It is past time to repeal Title 42. This latest refugee crisis, unfolding thousands of miles away but still finding its way to our doorstep, underscores how interconnected we all are and how arbitrary and unfair this policy is. We urge President Biden, as we have since the first days of his administration, to provide fair and meaningful access to the U.S. asylum system for all people seeking safety at our southern border.”

“Afghan-Americans understand firsthand the lengths people are willing to go to in order to seek safety from persecution and suffering. We also know how critical it is for these people to have access to the due process and protections afforded by asylum. As Title 42 demonstrates, we have allowed ourselves to become a country where folks regularly pull up the ladder behind themselves, especially when those following them are Black or Brown — an unforgivable and unacceptable failure for a nation of immigrants,” said Joseph Azam, Board Chair, Afghan-American Foundation. “As this policy is eventually ended, we must remember and reckon with its poisonous roots and think about what we can do to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again.”

“As public health experts, we have known from the start that the Title 42 border closure, which was implemented despite objections from CDC medical experts, has no legitimate basis in public health evidence or data,” said Solange Gould, Co-Director, Human Impact Partners. “Over the last two years, the Title 42 order has wreaked havoc at the southern border, caused harm, and separated families under the guise of public health. Rescinding the cruel and racist Title 42 order for all migrants is an essential first step to ensuring the safety and dignity of people seeking asylum in the U.S. — but it’s just the start. 

Regardless of whether someone has children with them or not, regardless of whether they are single or not, regardless of their nationality of origin, all people seeking asylum deserve care, all have families and communities, and all have a right to health and safety. Once the policy ends, public health experts are ready to welcome and work with people seeking asylum to strengthen the conditions we all need for health and safety.”

 

A recording of Tuesday’s call is available here and a recording of Wednesday’s call is available here.

 

The Welcome with Dignity Campaign is composed of more than 95  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: welcomewithdignity.org

 

###

COUNTDOWN TO THE END OF TITLE 42

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 30, 2022

CONTACT: press@welcomewithdignity.org

 

COUNTDOWN TO THE END OF TITLE 42

A recording of today’s call can be found here.

 

Washington — Today, Wednesday, March 30th, the #WelcomeWithDignity campaign held its second press call of the week demanding the Centers for Disease Control follow the science and put an end to the misuse of public health authorities to expel refugees from our borders. Today’s call featured a range of voices who have first-hand experience on how Title 42 is impacting people at the U.S. border and beyond.

 

“We are near the next milestone of ending Title 42,” said Marisa Limón-Garza, Hope Border Institute. “We have witnessed the hardship and trauma asylum seekers endured because of the prohibition to enter the U.S. in an unjust way, allowed by Title 42. This is the time to end the policy. It is imperative that we take actions regarding Title 42 with thoughtful and coordinated responses from local government, NGOs, and partners working to address the humanitarian needs of all asylum seekers, ”

 

Felicia Rangel-Samponaro, Sidewalk School said, “The Sidewalk School, which started as an NGO that provided education needs to children, is now working on fundraising and building shelters in Reynosa. The Sidewalk School is one of three American NGOs that will come into the city in Reynosa and the neighboring encampment because of the high crime rates and violence. The situation is only being made worse because of Title 42. There is no difference between black and brown asylum seekers and Ukrainian refugees; people are people, no human is illegal.” 

 

Emem Maurus, Transgender Law Center, said, “Title 42 is a policy that originated in the Trump Administration with a goal of stopping all migration coming from the US/Mexico border. Despite promises of returning to policies based on dignity, law, and science Biden has ramped up the implementation of Trump’s Title 42. It prevents anyone from crossing irrespective of their danger or quality of their asylum case. For LGBTQ asylum seekers the effects have been devastating. LGBTQ asylum seekers have been forced to wait in extraordinarily dangerous locations often without a safe place to sleep. Mexico is the second most dangerous place in the world for transgender women and yet the Biden Administration has refused to provide any exceptions for LGBTQ asylum seekers. Due to rampant anti-Blackness, Black LGBTQ asylum seekers have found themselves in greater peril and have suffered disproportionately. We call for an end to the blatantly racist and damaging policy immediately.”

 

Katharina Obser, Women’s Refugee Commission said, “The Women’s Refugee Commission’s recent trip to the border could not make more clear that Title 42 needs to end and end now. Countless people are trapped on the southern side of the U.S. border, hopeless and desperate for any chance to seek asylum in the U.S., and facing danger and insecurity that has been widely documented. As COVID restrictions in the U.S. wane and more populations have been excluded from the policy, this Trump era policy that was intentionally created to end access to asylum has lost all credibility, in addition to creating chaos and harm at the border. We urge the Biden administration to  end Title 42 once and for all and seize this opportunity to finally implement a fair, just, and dignified U.S. asylum system, one that doesn’t rely and expand on harmful practices like detention or returns to Mexico while someone goes through the U.S. immigration process. To do that, the administration must ensure that organizations on the ground are an essential part of the planning, coordination, and are resourced to support and welcome those seeking protection.”

 

Tomorrow’s press call will feature Representative Judy Chu (CA-27); Senior Vice President of Global Affairs at HIAS, Melanie Nezer; and Board Chair of the Afghan-American Foundation Joseph Azam. A recording of Tuesday’s call is available here.

 

The Welcome with Dignity Campaign is composed of more than 95  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: welcomewithdignity.org

 

###