Human Rights Stain, Public Health Farce
Evasion of Asylum Law and Title 42 Abuse Must End— and Never Be Revived
For nearly two years, the Biden administration has wielded the Trump administration’s Title 42 policy to block people from seeking asylum at official ports of entry, expel to grave dangers asylum seekers and migrants who cross the border, and evade the due process and refugee protection provisions of U.S. immigration and asylum law. Though efforts to force the continuation of this cruel and counterproductive policy continue, after a federal district court in Washington DC vacated it in November for violating U.S. law, it is scheduled to end on December 21, 2022.
The misuse of Title 42 has been a public health, border management, and human rights fiasco. Human Rights First has, as of the date this report was issued, tracked over 13,480 reports of murder, torture, kidnapping, rape, and other violent attacks on migrants and asylum seekers blocked in or expelled to Mexico under Title 42 since President Biden took office. It is a staggering number that will continue to mount every day that Title 42 or similar policies that evade refugee law are in place.
It is far past time to end this illegal, inhumane, and ineffective policy and all attempts to force its continuation. After nearly two years in office, the Biden administration should institute a more effective and humanitarian response to the reception, identification, and processing of refugees seeking protection in the United States – a response that upholds U.S. refugee and immigration laws, as Human Rights First has outlined in its recommendation papers. The Biden administration should not replace one failed and illegal Trump policy with another by embracing, supporting, or employing the ineffective, inhumane, xenophobic, and racist immigration policies of the prior administration.
This report is based on in-person interviews Human Rights First conducted with asylum seekers in Tijuana in September 2022 and Ciudad Juárez in December 2022; and interviews by telephone and in-person with attorneys, other humanitarian workers, and additional asylum seekers in Mexico conducted from October to December 2022; reports of attacks drawn from an ongoing survey of asylum seekers in Mexico conducted by Al Otro Lado between mid-June and early November 2022; open-source information identified by students from the University of California Network for Human Rights and Digital Fact Finding (Berkeley, Santa Cruz, Los Angeles); review of U.S. government data; and media and other human rights reporting.