Roughly one month after it said it was considering a possible phasing out of the previous administration’s anti-asylum Title 42 policy by end of summer, the Biden administration will reportedly continue to keep the Stephen Miller-pushed rule in place, The Washington Post reports.
The administration is in part citing the delta variant as a reason to continue the policy. But as noted for months now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) initially refused to endorse the policy, saying it was no public health reason to issue it. It’s instead been used as an excuse to quickly deport hundreds of thousands of people since last year—and now the Biden administration appears to plan to continue the policy until who knows when.
As recently as last Friday, public health experts and advocates were fiercely calling on the Biden administration to end the Title 42 policy, noting it has inflicted disproportionate harm on Black immigrants. Among the first deportation flights of the Biden administration were of Haitian asylum-seekers, including children. They were expelled under the policy.
“As a practicing physician who tests and treats many patients who are infected with Covid, I know that the Title 42 ban on entry has no basis in science or public health,” Dr. Kate Sugarman said last week. Dr. Vinu Ilakkuvan of Public Health Awakened said that “[b]locking asylum-based entrance based on false public health claims builds from a long history in this country of scapegoating and targeting immigrant communities during pandemics and other crises by labeling them as carriers of disease.”
Yet, as Human Rights Watch notes, a former Pence aide admitted the policy was implemented under force. Not my word, theirs. “’They forced us,’ a former health official involved in the process told the Associated Press. ‘It is either do it or get fired.’”
The Biden administration has given no valid reasoning for continuing the policy, which advocates continue to ask for in light of the report. “Sorry, if the admin's gonna claim COVID as a legitimate basis for maintaining Title 42 they need to explain why CDC scientists refused to sign onto it in the first place,” tweeted Kids in Need of Defense’s Ben Orlebeke. “Profoundly disturbing that Biden admin chooses to continue dangerous & illegal expulsions,” tweeted Human Rights First’s Kennji Kizuka. “@humanrights1st has tracked reports of 3,275+ rapes, kidnappings & other attacks against migrants & asylum seekers expelled or blocked in Mexico (during the Biden admin) due to Title 42.”
The Post reported that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said the Biden administration could be beset with more legal action if deportations under the policy continue. “If CDC is going to continue with Title 42, they need to be prepared for a lawsuit and to answer very specific questions in a deposition about whether they genuinely believed there was no way to process asylum seekers safely,” ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt said in the report.
The Biden administration also said this week that it’s seeking to quickly to deport certain newly arriving families under a process known as expedited removal. That was criticized by groups including Amnesty International USA. Human Rights First said that the U.S. is cruelly quickly expelling asylum-seekers when our nation has the vast resources and ability to safely welcome families, children, and individuals seeking safety. As previously noted, migrants recently crossing into Texas have voluntarily been getting the vaccine, and those who have tested positive are sent by shuttles to quarantine at hotels.
“At the same time, DHS has significant resources at its disposal to receive and register asylum seekers and release them to communities along the border and across the country that are standing by with unused shelter space and underutilized volunteer networks,” Human Rights First said earlier this month. “They are ready to receive and welcome the families, adults and children seeking protection at the southern U.S. border into a dignified and safe environment ... faith-led organizations, humanitarian groups, legal services organizations, and other volunteers stand ready in the El Paso region to welcome these asylum seekers and help them reach their destinations in the United States.”