FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 29, 2022
Press contact: Bilal Askaryar | BilalA@wrcommission.org | 646-899-9722
#WelcomeWithDignity: Biden is Wrong to Double Down on an Immoral, Illegal, and Ineffective Policy
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the #WelcomeWithDignity campaign denounced reports that the United States government is considering yet another expansion of the failed and illegal Title 42 policy to include Cuban, Nicaraguan and Haitian nationals seeking asylum.
Over the past three years that Title 42 has been in effect, the campaign and its partners have presented exhaustive evidence that Title 42 is both a moral and policy failure. Despite this, yesterday’s reports show the Biden-Harris administration seems intent on doubling down on President Trump’s xenophobia and cruelty.
“Enough is enough. Rather than doubling down on Title 42, the Biden administration should work to uphold the rule of law and restore the legal right to seek safety. Title 42 is a failed policy that endangers the lives of asylum seekers,” said Melina Roche, #WelcomeWithDignity Campaign Manager. “The #WelcomeWithDignity campaign and its 100+ partners stand ready to work with the administration to provide protections that do not simultaneously undermine access to asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border. Together we can restore access to asylum in an orderly, dignified, and humane manner.”
“From the beginning, Title 42 has been a racist policy created by Trump’s white-nationalist advisor Stephen Miller to close the border to asylum seeking refugees.” Said Nicole Phillips, Legal Director of the Haitian Bridge Alliance. “The impact of Title 42 on Haitians has been devastating, as over 26,000 have been expelled to Haiti without being able to seek asylum and other protections. We have buried so many people at the US-Mexico border because of T42 including children. Two wrongs don’t make a right – President Biden and his administration should not once again double down on this racist and illegal immigration policy. We ask the Biden administration to provide all asylum seekers, including Haitians, with their right to seek protection in the US, rather than throwing them back to harm in Mexico.”
“The Administration would be going far beyond any court order by expanding the repugnant Trump/Miller Title 42 expulsion policy to Haitians, Cubans, and Nicaraguans,” said Thomas Cartwright, in leadership with Witness at the Border. “This expansion again calls into question the resolve of this Administration to ‘restore the soul of America’ by reinstating the full legal right to asylum for those fleeing to us as a safe harbor, yet now finding the door, once again, slammed shut in fear of, and acquiescence to, anti-immigrant rantings rather than mustering the courage to do what is fair, right, and just. This would exacerbate the already abysmal conditions for migrants we witness every day in overcrowded Mexican border cities where all Governments have failed to provide even the minimal level of humanitarian sustenance.”
“Following the recent Supreme Court decision to keep Title 42 in place, it is a tragedy and a disgrace to see the administration continue to use this pandemic-era restriction – which was discriminatory and unnecessary at inception – to prevent people from seeking protection at our border,” said Nili Sarit Yossinger, Executive Director for Refugee Congress. “It is causing irreparable harm and we must find a way to push back on any attempts to prevent individuals from seeking safety.”
“This reported plan would harm far more people seeking asylum from Cuba, Nicaragua, and Haiti than it would help,” said Kimiko Hirota, Policy Advisor for the Migrant Rights and Justice program at the Women’s Refugee Commission. “People arriving at the US-Mexico border often have no other choice and cannot wait in their home country a moment longer. The Biden administration should fulfill its promise to undo Trump-era anti-immigrant policies, not double down on them.”
“In the wake of this week’s Supreme Court decision, the Biden administration should be redoubling its efforts to end Title 42, not expanding the policy,” said Melissa Crow, Director of Litigation at the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS). “This move would go far beyond what any court has required, dispelling any pretense that this administration is interested in turning the page on Stephen Miller’s policies and restoring access to asylum. The Biden administration knows that Title 42 is an illegal policy designed to shut the door on Black, Brown, and Indigenous refugees. The administration knows that those caught in its crosshairs have faced deadly violence. And it knows that expelling Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Cubans will have grave consequences for people fleeing persecution and torture. We implore the administration to reverse course.”
“In the wake of this disastrous decision by the Supreme Court, it is incredibly disturbing to hear reports that the Biden administration is considering doubling down to expand the use of Title 42 expulsions against other nationalities, as opposed to doing everything it legally can to terminate this policy and protect the rights of asylum seekers,” said Robyn Barnard, Director of Refugee Advocacy at Human Rights First. “The creation of parole programs or other pathways to protection should never be predicated on restrictions on access to the US asylum system. Punishing asylum seekers for their manner of arriving at our border to seek protection is a violation of the Refugee Convention & contrary to the entire ethos of our long held commitment to refugees. President Biden was elected based on his promises to protect asylum seekers and immigrant families, and we urge him to immediately shift course and uphold these promises.”
“The Biden administration’s continued attempts to adopt broad expulsion policies of additional populations is unethical, immoral and has already proven to be a failed strategy. We call on this administration to honor its promise to finally end Title 42 and renew its commitment to humanitarian protection,” stated Rev. Noel Andersen, Director for Grassroots Organizing at Church World Service. “Faith communities across the country are volunteering and stepping up to welcome asylum seekers. We expect this administration to do everything in their power to end these anti-asylum policies and create a humane reception infrastructure that can truly welcome people seeking safety with dignity.”
Join the movement and sign our pledge to #WelcomeWithDignity.
The #WelcomeWithDignity Campaign for asylum rights is composed of more than 100 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