The United States should be a place of safety and new beginnings, where people fleeing violence and oppression can find shelter from injustice. Unfortunately, the U.S. is abandoning its duty to protect people seeking asylum by using a public health provision called Title 42 to illegally and inhumanely expel them instead of providing those seeking asylum the protection they deserve.
The U.S. isn’t living up to our commitments to human rights and a fair immigration system.
At some points in our history, the United States has been a beacon of hope for those fleeing persecution. Not so today. After two decades of increasing militarization and a near closure of the southern border, migrants, including people seeking asylum, are criminalized instead of being shown the compassion they desperately need. But we have the capacity to make things right.
Expelling asylum seekers under Title 42 is illegal for three reasons:
- It misuses public health authority to expel individuals seeking U.S. protection without giving them access to the asylum system.
- It violates U.S. refugee and anti-trafficking laws, and international treaty obligations.
- It violates the human rights of children, families and adults seeking asylum by expelling them to face persecution, torture and other serious danger.
It doesn’t have to be this way. We can have a functioning, efficient and welcoming asylum system that protects the legal rights and safety of those seeking refuge.
Public health experts are clear—blocking and expelling asylum seekers does nothing to protect public health. In fact, senior CDC medical experts objected to the order authorizing the Title 42 expulsions because it had no public health justification. Common-sense measures that we should all be following such as social distancing, wearing masks and social distancing during transportation will protect public health and the rights of those seeking asylum.
The U.S. has both the resources and the moral obligation to protect people seeking safety. It’s on us to become the type of nation that people who have been tortured, persecuted or subjected to unimaginable violence can turn to for safety.
Thank you for your commitment to fighting for immigrant justice and human rights.