Human Rights First Opposes Attempts to Codify Inhumane Title 42 Expulsion Policy
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Human Rights First opposes the Lankford-Sinema bill that would codify the misuse of Title 42 to illegally block and expel people seeking asylum from the United States border as the Biden administration moved to terminate it. Human Rights First urges all members of Congress to reject the politics of xenophobia and to hold fast in protecting the right to seek asylum.
“Any attempt to codify the Title 42 policy is playing politics with human lives,” said Michael Breen, CEO and President of Human Rights First. “The bill pushed by Senators Lankford and Sinema is wrong from a human rights standpoint, from a security perspective, and as an immigration policy. The Title 42 policy never had a public health justification and has not been an effective, appropriate, or lawful migration management tool. It puts asylum-seekers at grave risk of danger from and has fueled criminal cartels, has created disorder at our border, and undermined U.S. security. It is long past time to leave behind the politics of fear that have driven our approach to the border for too long and to return instead to the U.S. tradition of welcoming the stranger in need.”
From the outset of the use of the Title 42 policy by the Trump administration, Human Rights First has urged its end. Our research has tracked almost 10,000 reports of attacks against victims of the policy since President Biden took office. The dangers and hardships people seeking asylum have faced due to the use of this expulsion policy—including murder, kidnappings, anti-Black brutality, violence against LGBTQ people, and family separations—are clear.
Over the last two years, Human Rights First published more than a dozen reports and other research documenting the grave human rights violations caused by the policy under both the Trump and Biden administrations: March 2022, February 2022, January 2022, December 2021, November 2021 (with Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project), October 2021, August 2021, July 2021 (with Hope Border Institute), June 2021, May 2021 (with RAICES and Interfaith Welcome Coalition), April 2021 (with Al Otro Lado and Haitian Bridge Alliance), December 2020, and May 2020.
Human Rights First’s recent research along the Arizona border has also shown that restarting processing of asylum-seekers at our ports of entry is essential to combatting the chaos created by Title 42 and ending the boon to cartels fueled by this policy.
Human Rights First also partnered with epidemiologists and other public health experts—led by experts at Mailman School of Public Health Program on Forced Migration, Johns Hopkins Center for Humanitarian Health, Milken Institute School of Public Health, Physicians for Human Rights, and Doctors of the World—who repeatedly explained to both the Trump and Biden administrations that the use of Title 42 was specious from a public health perspective and should be ended.
Human rights, immigration, resettlement organizations, and public health experts have for many months offered plans for safely restoring access to asylum at our border, comply with U.S. refugee law and meet our nation’s obligations under international treaties. Human Rights First stands ready to work with members of Congress and the Biden administration in restarting the orderly processing of asylum-seekers at our border and welcoming them with dignity.