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200+ Immigrant Rights Organizations Urge U.S. House Leadership to Block Efforts to Extend Title 42 Mass Expulsions

Attachments

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Minority Leader McCarthy, Chairwoman DeLauro, and Ranking Member Granger,

The undersigned civil society organizations write to express our grave concern regarding the amendments included in the Fiscal Year 2023 House spending bills for the Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services that would legislatively codify and indefinitely prolong the use of the Title 42 policy, which has been used to block and expel asylum seekers and migrants seeking safe haven in the United States. We urge you to ensure that these poison pill riders, or others like them, are not included in any bill that receives a vote on the House floor.

In 1980, the U.S. Congress passed the Refugee Act, codifying in U.S. law the Refugee Convention protections drafted by the international community in the wake of World War II’s atrocities. Today, just forty years later, those vital protections are in grave risk. Title 42 prevents people who clearly qualify for asylum under our laws – based on individual persecution in their homelands – from even making their case. We urge the House of Representatives to reject the misguided political reaction of a few that would result in direct harm to asylum seekers and undermine the integrity of the U.S. asylum system.

“Title 42” may sound innocuous; in reality it is a policy invented by the Trump administration to dismantle the U.S. asylum system, under the guise of specious public health justifications. Keeping Title 42 in place puts refugees at risk, exacerbates chaos at the border, and serves no legitimate public health goals.

The Title 42 expulsions policy harms asylum seekers. Expulsions have blocked people in need of protection from exercising their legal right to seek asylum without so much as a screening for asylum eligibility, as is required under U.S. law. Under Title 42, the U.S. government has routinely sent asylum seekers back to Mexico where they are vulnerable to kidnapping and violent assault, or back to the violence they fled in their countries of origin. Under the Biden administration, there have been over 10,318 reported violent attacks, including kidnapping and rape, against people expelled to Mexico under Title 42. The harms of the Title 42 expulsions fall primarily on Black, Brown and Indigenous asylum seekers. In recognition of the disparate racial impact inherent in the policy, civil rights leaders have called for the end of Title 42 in the name of racial equity and asylum law.

Title 42 does nothing to protect public health. The Title 42 policy was never justified as a public health measure. Senior CDC experts objected to the policy from its inception. Epidemiologists and medical experts have repeatedly confirmed that the Title 42 policy undermines public health responses to COVID-19 and that the pandemic, including emerging variants, can be addressed through existing precautions, such as offering vaccinations, testing, masking, and avoiding the use of congregate detention.

Title 42 sows chaos at the border rather than ameliorating it. Because Title 42 expulsions prevent people fleeing violence from seeking safety at U.S. ports of entry, the policy forces people to undertake repeated attempts to access asylum protections and U.S. immigration officials are actually prevented from enforcing U.S. immigration law. According to CBP data, the percentage of people who have attempted to repeatedly cross the southern border has jumped by over 385 percent from FY 2019 to FY 2022, from seven percent to 27 percent as of May 2022.
Transnational organized crime also benefits from the Title 42 policy because without safe pathways to seek protection, migrants are often forced to rely on smugglers to get them to U.S. soil and are driven to dangerous pathways to seek protection.

The amendments passed out of the House Appropriations Committee are particularly harmful because they make Title 42’s rescission contingent on termination of the COVID-19 emergency declaration, a decision with widespread public health and safety ramifications. The decision to end the COVID-19 public health emergency declaration is an incredibly consequential one, as the termination will limit or end the government’s flexibility to respond to COVID-19 related public health needs, including the issuance of waivers or modifications of Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP requirements. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that between 5.3 and 14.2 million people could lose Medicaid coverage when the public health emergency is terminated.
Tying asylum access to the public health needs of millions will inject an irrelevant complication into this important decision, with unintended and potentially harmful consequences for both immigration and public health.

We urge you to ensure that these amendments are not included in any legislation that receives a vote on the House floor. Permitting these bills to proceed would irreparably taint decades of congressional commitment to protect refugees and asylum seekers. With countless lives at stake, we expect you to protect, not undermine, the rights of asylum seekers.

Sincerely,

National organizations

African Communities Together

Alianza Americas

America’s Voice

American Civil Liberties Union

American Friends Service Committee

American Immigration Council

American Immigration Lawyers Association

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)

Amnesty International USA

Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC

Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence

Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP)

Autistic Self Advocacy Network

Bend the Arc: Jewish Action

Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI)

Bread for the World

Bridges Faith Initiative

Center for Constitutional Rights

Center for Disability Rights

Center for Gender & Refugee Studies

Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)

Center for Victims of Torture

Children’s HealthWatch

Church World Service

Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center

Coalition on Human Needs

Communities United for Status & Protection (CUSP)

Community Change Action

Comunidad Maya Pixan Ixim

Detention

Watch Network

Disciples Immigration Legal Counsel

Disciples Refugee & Immigration Ministries

Doctors for Camp Closure

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Faith In Action (LA RED)

Familia:

Trans Queer Liberation Movement

Families for Freedom

Family Voices

FIRM Action

First Focus Campaign for Children

Freedom for Immigrants (FFI)

Freedom Network USA

Government Accountability Project

Haitian Bridge Alliance

HIAS

Hispanic Federation

Human Rights First

Human Rights Watch

Immigrant Justice Corps

Immigrant Legal Resource Center

Immigration Equality Action Fund

Innovation Law Lab

Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti

International Mayan League

International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP)

International Rescue Committee

InterReligious Task Force on Central America and Colombia

Jesuit Refugee Service/USA

JPIC Office, Adorers of the Blood of Christ, US Region

Justice Action Center

Justice in Motion

Kids in Need of Defense

Kino Border Initiative

Latin America Working Group (LAWG)

Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS)

Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

NAKASEC

National Center for Lesbian Rights

National Center for Parent Leadership, Advocacy, and Community Empowerment (National

PLACE)

National Council of Jewish Women

National Education Association

National Immigrant Justice Center

National Immigration Law Center

National Immigration Project (NIPNLG)

National Justice For Our Neighbors

National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights

National Partnership for New Americans

National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies

NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice

Oxfam America

Physicians for Human Rights

Poder Latinx

Presente.org

Prevention Institute

Project On Government Oversight

Quixote Center RAICES

Refugee Congress

Refugee Council USA

Refugees International

Respond Crisis Translation

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights

Save the Children

Service Employees International Union (SEIU)

Showing Up for Racial Justice

Sisters and Associates of St. Francis

Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Justice Team

Sojourners

Southern Border Communities Coalition

Southern Poverty Law Center Action Fund

T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights

Tahirih Justice Center

U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI)

UndocuBlack Network

Union for Reform Judaism

Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice

United We Dream

Vera Institute of Justice

Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)

Witness at the Border

Women’s Refugee Commission

Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights

Regional / state / local organizations

Adelanto Visitation & Advocacy Network

Adhikaar

Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc.

Advocating Opportunity

Al Otro Lado

All Souls Unitarian Church

American Gateways

Asian American Advocacy Fund

Asian American Federation

Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta

Association for Special Children & Families

Bellevue Program for Survivors of Torture

Bend the Arc Jewish Action Pittsburgh

Bend the Arc: Jewish Action - Maryland

Bend the Arc: Jewish Action Champaign-Urbana

Border Kindness

Border Organizing Project

Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition (CAIR Coalition)

Central American Resource Center - CARECEN - of California

Children at Risk

Church Women United in New York State

Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA)

Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition

Community Asylum Seekers Project

Connecticut Shoreline Indivisible

El Refugio Ministry

Envision Freedom Fund

Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project

Exceptional Children’s Assistance Center (ECAC)

Federation for Children with Special Needs

Fellowship Southwest

First Friends of New Jersey and New York

Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project

Georgia Asylum and Immigration Network (GAIN)

Georgia Human Rights Clinic

Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights

Good Shepherd

Grassroots Leadership

Guadalupe Presbyterian Church USA, Guadalupe, AZ

Hawaii Families As Allies

Holy Spirit Social Justice

Hope Border Institute

Human Rights Initiative of North Texas

Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights

Immigrant Defenders Law Center

Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project

Immigration Working Group, SWPA Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

INCLUDEnyc

Inter-Faith Committee on Latin America

Interfaith Community for Detained Immigrants Chicago

Interfaith Welcome Coalition - San Antonio

Jewish Activists for Immigration Justice of Western Mass

Jewish Family Service of San Diego

Jewish Progressive Action (NH)

Justice for Our Neighbors El Paso

Kitsap Immigrant Assistance Center (KIAC)

La Conexion

La Raza Community Resource Center

Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center

Lutheran Social Services

Maryland Against ICE Detention

Maryland Legislative Coalition

Migrant Center for Human Rights

Minnesota Freedom Fund

Montgomery County Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health, Inc.

New Sanctuary Movement of Atlanta

New York Immigration Coalition

NorCal Resist

North Carolina Justice Center

Northwest Immigrant Rights Project

NW Ohio Immigrant Rights Network

Oasis Legal Services

OPAWL - Building AAPI Feminist Leadership

Parents’ Place of MD

PEAK Parent Center

Rio Grande Borderland Ministries

Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network

Rutgers Law School, Child Advocacy Clinic

San Dieguito United Methodist Church, Encinitas, CA

Sidewalk School

Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia

Sisters of St. Francis, Tiffin, OH

Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet

Social Justice Coalition, Central Lutheran Church

SPAN Parent Advocacy Network

St. James Cathedral, Seattle

Takoma Park Mobilization - Equal Justice

Texas Civil Rights Project

The Advocates for Human Rights

THRIVE Center

Universidad Popular

University of San Francisco Immigration and Deportation Defense Clinic

UnLocal

Westchester Jewish Coalition for Immigration

Wind of the Spirit Immigrant Resource Center

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