Huisha-Huisha Case hearing today - Title 42’s only purpose is to keep people from seeking asylum in the U.S. and inflict suffering. @POTUS: #WelcomeWithDignity NOW.
Groups challenging the Biden administration over Title 42 expulsions are arguing in federal court today against the continued implementation of the policy. Title 42 is an obscure provision of health law that the Trump administration weaponized during the COVID-19 pandemic to deny people arriving at the southern border their right to seek asylum in the United States.
The American Civil Liberties Union, Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, Oxfam America, RAICES, Texas Civil Rights Project, the ACLU of Texas, and the ACLU of the District of Columbia first sued the Trump administration over Title 42 expulsions of refugee families in 2020. After hitting an impasse in negotiations with the Biden administration to end the policy, the groups went back to court in July 2021 to seek an immediate termination of Title 42. BIDEN MUST END IT - and not continue to implement it under the guise of any adaptation: This hurts all asylum seekers and is horrendously impactful on LGBTQI+ asylum seekers who generally are further marginalized and persecuted in interim countries and by fellow heterosexual/ cis asylum seekers.
When Speaking about Title 42 / and the Huisha-Huisha Case Points to Note - January 19, 2022
Title 42 is an obscure provision of health law that the Trump administration weaponized during the COVID-19 pandemic to deny families, children, and adults arriving at the southern border their right to seek asylum in the United States.
Title 42 is illegal. The Title 42 policy deprives asylum seekers of their legal right to pursue protection, allowing border officials to rapidly expel them to Mexico or to their home countries with no process whatsoever.
The policy violates the right of people fleeing persecution not to be returned to danger, which is enshrined in the United States’ laws and international treaty obligations.
Advocates have brought a class action challenge to stop Title 42 expulsions of families seeking safety. This week litigators from the ACLU, Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, Oxfam America, RAICES, Texas Civil Rights Project, the ACLU of Texas, and the ACLU of the District of Columbia, are back in court arguing for an immediate end to this cruel and unlawful policy. [See social toolkit]
Title 42 does not protect public health. The CDC order authorizing the expulsions was issued over objections by senior CDC medical experts that it lacked a public health justification. The Biden administration has continued the abuse of Title 42 over the objections of more than 60 members of Congress, public health experts, and top advisors from the administration.
Practitioners have found Title 42 to exacerbate the spread of COVID-19 and other public health challenges.
Title 42 fuels violence and chaos at the southern border. Since President Biden took office, there have been at least 8,705 reports of violent attacks—including rape, kidnapping, and assault—against people blocked from requesting asylum protection at the U.S.-Mexico border and/or expelled to Mexico under Title 42, as tracked by Human Rights First.
Title 42 causes family separation by forcing parents to make the impossible decision to keep their children safe by sending them across the border alone, or risk their children’s lives to stay together in dangerous conditions in Mexico.
The Biden administration must restart asylum, including at ports of entry and along the border.
The United States has the ability to protect public health and safeguard the lives of children, families, and adults seeking asylum and other humanitarian protections - just like we have for non-asylum seekers during the pandemic.
Ports of entry have been open to shoppers, tourists, and other non-essential vaccinated travelers since November, but asylum seekers, even those with proof of vaccination, continue to be blocked and expelled.
Epidemiologists and public health experts have repeatedly called on the Biden administration to revoke the Title 42 order, stating that we can both protect public health and the lives of people seeking refuge by using the kinds of public health measures we all now use.
Instead of blocking people seeking humanitarian protection, the U.S. government should employ measures recommended by public health experts and UNHCR – such as distancing and masks, health screenings, testing, and use of non-congregate settings – to quickly process and parole asylum seekers, pending immigration court proceedings.
The Omicron variant highlights that community transmission within the United States, and not introduction of the virus from Mexico, is driving the spread of COVID-19. Title 42, if anything, only makes things worse.
WATCH LIVE: Advocates go head to head with the Biden administration over its embrace of Title 42, a “Stephen Miller special” designed to punish and endanger people fleeing persecution: https://youtu.be/4wVohptijg4
Twitter accounts to follow/retweet: @ACLU, @CGRShastings, @OxfamAmerica, @RAICESTEXAS, @TXCivilRights, @ACLUTx
Immigrants’ Rights Advocates Argue In Court Against Title 42 Expulsions
Wednesday, January 19, 2022
Despite pushback from public health officials and calls to end Title 42, the Biden administration continues to implement this harmful Trump-era policy
Groups challenging the Biden administration over Title 42 expulsions of asylum seekers argued in federal court today against the continued implementation of this harmful and unlawful policy.
The American Civil Liberties Union, Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, Oxfam America, RAICES, Texas Civil Rights Project, the ACLU of Texas, and the ACLU of the District of Columbia first sued the Trump administration over Title 42 expulsions of refugee families in 2020. After hitting an impasse in negotiations with the Biden administration, the groups went back to court in July 2021 to seek an immediate termination of this policy.
Even as public health experts, former Centers for Disease Control officials, and Dr. Anthony Fauci have publicly cast doubt over the scientific basis for Title 42, the Biden administration continues to implement this harmful policy.
Title 42 allows border agents to summarily expel asylum seekers without any legal process under an unprecedented and unlawful invocation of an obscure public health act. The policy was introduced during the Trump administration, in violation of longstanding immigration statutes requiring that asylum seekers receive a full and fair proceeding to determine their right to protection in the United States.
In September 2021, a federal district court held that the Title 42 expulsions are likely unlawful, but the Biden administration appealed that ruling, seeking to continue expelling refugee families.
Most notably, Title 42 came under intense scrutiny in September as Haitian asylum seekers coming to the U.S. southern border were abused and inhumanely treated by Border Patrol agents under this policy. The following comments are from:
ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt, who argued the case before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals today:
“We are back in court because the Biden administration left us no choice. We continue to fight Title 42 because families’ lives continue to be at stake.”
Neela Chakravartula, Managing Attorney, Center for Gender & Refugee Studies:
“The Biden administration’s embrace of Title 42 has exposed people seeking asylum to untold violence and suffering. There is no legal or public health basis for the Title 42 policy, as the experts have made clear time and time again. Yet one year in, the Biden administration continues to defend Title 42 in court, choosing political expediency over the lives of desperate families fleeing persecution. We will keep fighting until Title 42 is defeated once and for all.”
Karla Marisol Vargas, Senior Staff Attorney, Texas Civil Rights Project:
“It is shameful that an administration that ran on a belief in science and welcoming people with dignity continues to manipulate an obscure public health rule to violate the basic human rights of asylum seekers. The rationale that Title 42 is necessary to preserve public health is a lie. Scapegoating Black, Indigenous, and other migrants of color as vectors of disease just serves as an example of the ongoing racism entrenched in our immigration system. Last year, the world was able to witness these harms play out as Black migrants were violently and forcibly removed from a camp in Del Rio with no real opportunities to seek asylum. The cameras left Del Rio, but those moments and that harm is happening to Black, Brown, and other migrants of color every single day as the administration continues to implement violent, racist, and illegal policies like Title 42.”
Tami Goodlette, Director of Litigation, RAICES:
”Today, the Biden administration actively chose to defend and continue the toxic, white supremacist legacy of the Trump era by doubling down and fighting to continue Title 42 in federal court. Title 42 is a policy created by the Trump administration to inflict terror on immigrant communities under the guise of public health, plain and simple. Public health experts have made clear that immigration is not a source of pandemic spread, and by fighting to keep Title 42, the Biden administration is plainly targeting refugees and asylum seekers — particularly Black migrants — for expulsion, and denying them the right to seek refuge in our country.
“We will not stand for this illogical and racist scapegoating of immigrants and will not allow this administration to use the pandemic as a cover for xenophobia. Today’s hearing is a true moment of moral reckoning for the president on immigration. Unfortunately, President Biden has chosen to promote and support Title 42 and the death and terrifying conditions it creates. We will never stop fighting for the repeal of Title 42.”
Diana Kearney, Senior Legal Advisor, Oxfam America:
"Today we heard the same unconvincing arguments from the Biden administration that we've been hearing for the last year about this xenophobic and baseless policy, arguments that have already been rejected in federal court. Title 42 unjustly and unnecessarily inflicts harm on families seeking asylum at our border, and we will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that this policy ends once and for all."
Shaw Drake, Staff Attorney and Policy Counsel on Border Rights, ACLU of Texas:
“One year after taking office, the Biden administration continues to defend Trump’s blanket shutdown of asylum access in the United States under the facade of the pandemic. Ensuring the summary expulsion of vulnerable families seeking safety at our border, this remains one of the most inhumane and unlawful Trump era border policies.”
“When the Biden administration adopted this policy as its own, they broke promises to restore the country’s asylum system and further co-opted the pandemic to deny lawful access to asylum to those seeking protection in the United States. Their actions are shameful.”