Human Rights First Welcomes Recission of Trump-era Metering Directives, Calls for Asylum to Be Upheld

WASHINGTON — As the Biden administration restarts non-essential border travel on Monday, Human Rights First welcomes recission of Trump-era “metering” directives, which illegally turned away people seeking asylum at ports of entry along the U.S. border with Mexico, and urges the Biden administration to uphold refugee law at all ports of entry.

“The recission of these Trump-era directives is a welcome step that should be swiftly followed by additional action to uphold U.S. refugee law and restore asylum processing at ports of entry,” said Eleanor Acer, director of refugee protection at Human Rights First. “People seeking refugee protection continue to be stranded in dire danger and blocked from requesting asylum at U.S. ports of entry due to the Biden administration’s decision to use Trump’s Title 42 policy. The Biden administration must firmly end all Trump administration policies that turn people seeking protection back to horrific harms and trample on our refugee laws.”

Earlier this week, Acting Commissioner for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Troy Miller issued guidance officially rescinding several memoranda issued under the Trump administration to implement its “metering” policy – the first in a series of policies aimed at turning back asylum seekers to wait in danger in Mexico. The guidance also directed steps to increase capacity to process people seeking asylum, though additional safeguards are needed.  A federal judge, in Al Otro Lado v. Mayorkas, a lawsuit brought by Al Otro Lado and a group of asylum seekers, represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights, Southern Poverty Law Center, American Immigration Council and Mayer Brown, ruled that the government’s policy of turning back people seeking protection at ports of entry is likely unlawful under U.S. immigration law.

Human Rights First has issued several reports detailing the illegality and harms inflicted by the Trump administration’s metering policy. In its most recent report on the Biden administration’s use of Title 42 to expel and block asylum seekers, Human Rights First found at least 7,647 kidnappings and attacks against people expelled to danger in Mexico or blocked from seeking U.S. protection since the Biden administration took office, and details analysis confirming that use of Title 42 is causing disorder and spurring crossings between ports of entry. Human Rights First has repeatedly outlined recommendations for restoring asylum and upholding refugee law.

Human Rights First urges that, in future guidance, the Department of Homeland Security and CBP leadership make clear to CBP officers that it is a core responsibility and top priority to ensure respect and compliance with the refugee laws enacted by the U.S. Congress and with U.S. treaty legal obligations. In addition to urging prompt action to restore asylum and end use of Title 42, Human Rights First also urges additional safeguards and action to ensure that “metering” policies are never resurrected or permitted in the future.


Published on September 19, 2022


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