“It’s troubling to see the court grant the government’s motion to reinstate Title 42 just days after the district court ruled that its policy violates U.S. law,” Oxfam America global policy lead Noah Gottschalk told NBC News. The group is among the organizations that have led lawsuits against the policy. “We all saw the horrific images of the abuse faced by Haitian asylum-seekers subjected to Title 42, and we cannot allow people to face further harm because of this xenophobic policy.”
Department of Homeland Security Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas has claimed it is continuing Title 42 “out of a public health need.” Meanwhile, White House Press Sec. Jen Psaki has defended the policy as “a public health requirement.” That’s complete bullshit. “Vice President Mike Pence in March directed the nation’s top disease control agency to use its emergency powers to effectively seal the U.S. borders, overruling the agency’s scientists who said there was no evidence the action would slow the coronavirus,” The Associated Press (AP) reported last October.
The previous administration got its way by twisting arms. There was no science involved, only anti-immigrant and anti-asylum animus. “That was a Stephen Miller special. He was all over that,” a former Pence aide told the AP.
And, as vaccines have become readily available, the supposed rationale to keep Title 42 in place has only gotten more flimsy. If this is truly all about public health, why not rescind the policy and offer families the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine? “Let me also remind the Biden administration that over 300,000 people cross the border from Mexico every day through ports of entry,” American Immigration Council Policy Counsel Aaron Reichlin-Melnick tweeted in July. “None are given COVID tests, unlike migrants who all get tested and nearly all get vaccinated.”
“Reminder: All @POTUS needed to do to stop applying Trump’s Title 42 to families was not seek a stay/appeal, BUT they did,” tweeted Immigrant Defenders Law Center Director Lindsay Toczylowski. “So expelling families w/ kids & everyone else back to dangerous countries they have fled with no due process is now a BIDEN policy they fought hard to keep.” She continued to write that Title 42 is now “official Biden policy.”
The Biden administration has faced fierce calls from within the Democratic caucus to end this inhumane and flawed policy, including from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House leaders.
“We cannot continue these hateful and xenophobic Trump policies that disregard our refugee laws,” Schumer said during a floor speech last month. “We must allow asylum seekers to present their claims at our ports of entry and be afforded due process.” Following an urgent White House meeting over the treatment of Haitian asylum-seekers, Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee tweeted, “@TheBlackCaucus is demanding answers & policy changes to ensure America remains a beacon of hope for refugees.” Ohio Rep. Joyce Beatty wrote that “[a]sylum is and always will be a human right.”
The Biden campaign platform had pledged to “[r]eassert America’s commitment to asylum-seekers and refugees.” In a statement received by Daily Kos, American Civil Liberties Union attorney Lee Gelernt said that “[i]f the Biden administration really wants to treat asylum seekers humanely, it should end this lawless policy now and withdraw its appeal. We will continue fighting to end this illegal policy.” NBC News reports that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which allowed the policy to continue Thursday, has scheduled oral arguments for January, meaning countless more vulnerable people stand to be quickly deported through then.