The Biden administration is “leaning toward” terminating the deeply flawed Stephen Miller order that’s used the pandemic as an excuse to quickly deport asylum-seekers in violation of their rights, Reuters reported on Wednesday.
One official “familiar with the matter” said a decision could come within weeks, according to the report. But there were also reports back in June 2021 that the administration was considering phasing out Title 42 by the end of that summer. Now, in March 2022, Title 42 is still here and still inflicting harm.
“We've been calling on @POTUS to end Title 42 for months,” tweeted Rep. Ayanna Pressley. She’s long noted harms that anti-asylum policy has inflicted on Black asylum-seekers in particular. “It's long past time to #EndTitle42, halt these abhorrent & racist deportations, and build a more just & equitable immigration system.”
“Title 42 was created by Stephen Miller and weaponized to shut down our asylum system for two years—with no legitimate public health justification,” tweeted former 2020 presidential candidate Julián Castro. That’s absolutely right, following the Nov. release of CDC testimony revealing it was never about public health, it was about kicking out asylum-seekers. “The Biden administration must end it immediately.”
The Reuters report comes just days after two courts issued conflicting rulings on the policy, including one decision from a right-wing judge appointed by the previous administration. That cruel order said that children who arrived to the U.S. without their parents could no longer be exempt from the policy, as the Biden administration has been doing. The other ruling, from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, told the administration could not deport families “who may face persecution or torture once expelled,” organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union said.
These conflicting rulings could mean that continuing the policy “may soon become untenable for the federal government,” American Immigration Council Policy Counsel Aaron Reichlin-Melnick writes.
“If the Biden administration is forced to apply Title 42 to unaccompanied children, the consequences would be dire,” he continued. “Children fleeing from sexual abuse, gender-based violence, persecution, or other harms would be turned around at the border and flown right back to the countries they left. And it would unwind one of the only remaining humanitarian protections left at the border for some of the most vulnerable individuals.” He said that “rather than forcing children back to danger under a court order, the CDC should end Title 42 entirely,” and “work to establish a safe and orderly asylum process at our southern border.”
The Reuters report also came as Democratic senators joined advocates on a press call Thursday continuing to urge the Biden administration to end the Miller policy, once and for all. Schumer and Menendez, along with Cory Booker and Alex Padilla, also recently released a joint statement urging an end to the policy:
There is the reality that should the Biden administration end the policy, let’s say this Friday, Republicans will sue. Legal experts have already noted how Republicans, like the very corrupt Texas attorney general Ken Paxton, have used the anti-immigrant judicial pipeline to get rulings in their favor (like the one seeking to deport asylum-seeking children).
Reuters reports ending the policy “could provoke backlash from Republicans.” To which I respond: Who the fuck cares? Why do we always live in fear about what Republicans will say when they already say the worst anyway?
Recall that Congressional Republicans united with an anti-immigrant hate group to declare an “immigration crisis” from the very start of the president’s administration even as he kept Title 42 in place. So the fear is that Republicans will criticize an end to Title 42 … even as they’ve spent the last year pretending it hasn’t been in place? Fight for vulnerable people, do the right and just thing, and let them fucking sue if they want. But at least be on the record as having tried to protect families in the first place.