SILVER SPRING, Md – HIAS is hailing Tuesday’s milestone ruling from a federal judge barring the use of Title 42 to expel asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border. The World War II-era emergency public health law has allowed Customs and Border Protection to block people from seeking protection in the U.S. and has led to more than 2 million expulsions under both this and the previous administration since Title 42 was invoked in March of 2020.
“While we recognize that it will take some time before this case is fully resolved, we are relieved that this ruling recognizes that Title 42 has no public health rationale and has been used improperly to put asylum seekers at risk. What is needed is an orderly and humane asylum system with enough resources and coordination on both sides of the border to ensure due process and equitable treatment,” said HIAS’ President and CEO Mark Hetfield. “We have been troubled by the Biden Administration’s recent expansion of Title 42 as part of its new program to admit up to 24,000 Venezuelans under humanitarian parole while expelling a much larger number to Mexico – a move that amounted to establishing what was ostensibly an emergency measure as a seemingly permanent instrument of U.S. immigration policy.”
The decision from Judge Emmet Sullivan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia voids the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) order that allowed for the use of Title 42 as part of the effort to stop the spread of Covid-19. Tuesday’s ruling comes in response to an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit arguing that the application of Title 42 violates U.S. asylum law. The Department of Homeland Security responded late Tuesday by filing an unopposed stay motion delaying implementation of the court order, adding that Title 42 will remain in place for some time while the government prepares for an “orderly transition to new policies at the border.”
“We are looking forward to seeing the details of the new policies DHS officials say they are preparing to implement at the border. Keeping Title 42 in place in the meantime isn’t the answer,” Hetfield said. “Since President Biden came into office promising to end Title 42, we call on the administration to take this opportunity to embark swiftly on the comprehensive repair of the asylum system that we need to meet the challenges at our southern border, and to reclaim the nation’s tradition of leadership when it comes to protecting the right to asylum.”