Today, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced plans to terminate Title 42, a Trump-era public health authority that allows the government to immediately turn away migrants at the southern border. Jesuit Refugee Service/USA (JRS/USA) welcomes this decision and urges the Administration to execute a plan centered on the dignity and humanity of asylum seekers.
“As an organization focused on protecting the right of refugees and asylum seekers around the world, we applaud this long-overdue decision by the Administration,” said Joan Rosenhauer, Executive Director at JRS/USA. “Our team in El Paso, TX is poised and ready to welcome asylum seekers who have been waiting patiently for the opportunity to petition for safety in the U.S.”
Set to take effect on May 23, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that termination of Title 42 will be accompanied by a whole-of-government strategy that includes a commitment by the Administration to increase capacity to process new arrivals, evaluate asylum requests, and implement additional COVID-19 protocols, including increased access to vaccines for asylum seekers.
“This decision is a positive step forward and we urge the Administration to do everything in its power to ensure that asylum seekers are afforded their legal right to safely and efficiently petition for protection,” said Giulia McPherson, Director of Advocacy & Operations at JRS/USA. “Law enforcement officers must respect these rights and local service providers must be provided sufficient resources to meet the needs of asylum seekers.”
While the termination of Title 42 will once again allow asylum seekers access to the U.S. asylum system, the U.S. continues to implement the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy which forces asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their cases are adjudicated. To fully restore the rights of asylum seekers, the U.S. must also immediately terminate MPP and swiftly process anyone subjected to this policy into the U.S. where they can wait in safety.
Update: JRS/USA urges Congress to oppose any effort to reinstate Title 42 including introduction of legislation that would force the CDC and DHS to continue unlawful Title 42 expulsions of individuals and families seeking protection, in contradiction to the CDC’s determination that Title 42 is not necessary to protect public health.