California Welcoming Task Force Groups Call For End to Title 42, Restoration of Humane Process for People Seeking Asylum
May 23, 2022
San Diego, CA — On April 1, 2022, California Welcoming Task Force groups celebrated the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) decision to end Title 42 Order that was set to take effect today. For over two years, Title 42 has effectively and unlawfully prevented people fleeing danger from seeking asylum in the United States. Unfortunately, due to a preliminary injunction issued by a federal district court judge in Arizona v. CDC on Friday blocking the CDC’s termination order, Title 42 will continue to cause pain and suffering to people seeking safety at our southern border. Community based organizations in partnership with all levels of government have the ability to process families and individuals seeking asylum at our ports of entry. Our government has a legal obligation to give people access to asylum, which is also in keeping with our values of compassion, humanity and dignity.
The current implementation of Title 42 was designed by Stephen Miller, a known white supremacist and Trump’s immigration advisor. Politicians have argued that the policy is a public health measure, but nothing could be further from the truth. Public health experts have repeatedly condemned the policy and shown it has nothing to do with public health and everything to do with politics. It has had a disproportionate negative impact on Black and LGBTQ+ migrants. There is no reason to maintain Title 42 other than political posturing, fearmongering, xenophobia and racism.
Kate Clark, senior director of immigration services, Jewish Family Service of San Diego: “At a time when humanitarian needs are increasing due to escalating crises around the world, thousands of vulnerable migrants continue to wrongfully be denied their right to seek asylum in the U.S. under the guise of ‘public health’ under the cruel Title 42 expulsion policy. As operators of the San Diego Rapid Response Network Migrant Shelter Services, Jewish Family Service and our incredible network of partners, supporters and volunteers have demonstrated that it is possible to both prioritize public health while welcoming vulnerable individuals with dignity – highlighting how unwarranted the implementation of Title 42 was in the first place. The current administration must make good on its promises to rebuild our country’s broken asylum and immigration systems by immediately lifting this discriminatory policy and increasing resources and support for migrant shelter services across the border region, including here in San Diego.”
Norma Chávez-Peterson, executive director of the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties: “The American public supports fair and humane asylum policies. It is long past time to restore asylum protections, as U.S. and international laws require. Title 42 cannot be our de facto immigration policy and never should have been.
“Keeping Title 42 in place is wrong. It’s un-American. It is not who we are or who we should aspire to be. We are committed to continuing the fight to end it.
“Together, with our coalition partners – including the California Welcoming Task Force, San Diego County Rapid Response Network, and the ACLU Border Humanity Project – the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties calls on the Biden administration and the U.S. Congress to uphold our nation’s legal and moral obligation to provide all people fleeing persecution, violence and war a fair opportunity to seek refuge in the United States.”
Hannah Janeway, MD MS Emergency Physician, Co-Founder, Co-Director of Refugee Health Alliance: “As an Emergency physician and frontline provider, I have a deep understanding of the real risks of COVID-19 and the varied methods for prevention of transmission. Public health experts agree that there is absolutely no scientific basis to Title 42. It has been devastating and deeply disappointing to see our highest public health organization so clearly value politics over true science. Refugee Health Alliance has directly witnessed the negative impacts that this police has had on the health, safety and wellbeing of thousands of asylum seekers that we serve everyday at the US-Mexico border. We implore the Biden administration to listen to public health and medical experts and end Title 42 immediately.”
Dulce Garcia, Executive Director, Border Angels: “Border Angels supports 17 shelters in Tijuana, and have seen firsthand the desperation of asylum seekers after 2 years of Title 42. This year we met with the Department of Homeland Security to bring all of this information to them, providing testimony of migrants in shelters that speak to the suffering and survival of violent incidents as they have waited outside the U.S. to make their claim to asylum. The directors directly requested we relay the urgency of all the people waiting and facing danger. DHS allowed us the opportunity to present very vulnerable migrants at the border for Title 42 exemptions. Through this process we have shown that the U.S. is able to admit dozens of asylum seekers into the U.S. in a safe manner. But that’s not enough, we have seen the hope and excitement for a life-saving opportunity, but we continue to see the enormous need of hundreds of asylum-seeking families to reach safety. We demand the immediate end of Title 42, and the support of government agencies that have yet to reach the shelters in Tijuana. There is no justification for the implementation of this policy that is causing the deaths of asylum seekers that want to present themselves at the port of entry. Every day that Title 42 is implemented, our community suffers a death. Migrants are being pushed daily to risk their lives crossing through the desert and ocean. We must end Title 42 TODAY.”
Ian Philabaum, Co-Director of Innovation Law Lab’s Anticarceral Legal Organizing program: “Title 42, shamelessly peddled by fear mongering politicians as a ‘public health’ policy, has served only to fan the flames of the real travesty at the border: violence against migrants and barriers to seeking asylum. We work to increase access to justice, equity and inclusion for people forced to abandon their homes in search of safety. As long as Title 42 remains in place, our mission continues to be thwarted by this racist policy. Title 42 must end.”
Margaret Cargioli, Directing Attorney of the Cross-Border Initiative, Immigrant Defenders Law Center: “Our government cannot continue to shun asylum seekers needing a haven. The U.S. has both the capacity and means to safely process asylum seekers. We should be defined by our human response in the face of grave tragedy, as well as our adherence to asylum law for all people. There cannot be a double standard for Black and Brown refugees fleeing violence. Title 42 must end so the administration can begin to fulfill its promise of reimagining the immigration system to one that welcomes all with dignity.”
The California Welcoming Task Force, a binational coalition dedicated to re-envisioning how the U.S. can welcome people seeking asylum safely and expeditiously at our border by coordinating across sectors (humanitarian, legal, health, advocacy and communications), respectfully requests to meet with the Biden-Harris administration to discuss the dismantling of one of the cruelest U.S. immigration policies ever inflicted upon people seeking asylum.