Organizations that advocate for LGBTQ migrants are celebrating the news that the Biden administration is set to end use of Stephen Miller’s anti-asylum policy by May 23. Title 42 is a purported public health order that’s used the novel coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to block migrants from their U.S. asylum rights.
Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project Co-director Oluchi Omeoga said the order is “a racist and harmful policy,” and called the administration’s decision “a right step for many asylum seekers,” the Los Angeles Blade reports. Immigration Equality Executive Director Aaron Morris told the outlet that “[i]t’s about time,” calling the policy “the brainchild of Stephen Miller long before COVID-19 even existed.”
That last part’s an important, and all too often forgotten, fact. A then-official with the previous administration “said the ideas about invoking public health and other emergency powers had been on a 'wish list' of about 50 ideas to curtail immigration that Mr. Miller crafted within the first six months of the administration,” The New York Times reported nearly two years ago.
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The New York Times report, originally published in May 2020 and noted here at Daily Kos, detailed how Miller had been itching for a public health crisis as a pretext to block migrants at the southern border, throwing everything from a flu outbreak within border facilities to the so-called migrant caravan against the wall to see what would stick.
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But Miller’s suggestions repeatedly failed to get support within the insurrectionist administration, reportedly even stooping to see how he could use the tragic deaths of migrant children in U.S. custody to his advantage (it must also be noted that U.S. border officials repeatedly refused to offer detained migrants flu shots even after these preventable deaths).
“That changed with the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic,” The Times reported. It notes that Miller’s scheming was “in large part repurposed from old draft executive orders and policy discussions.” Miller had already decided that he would publicly use so-called health concerns as his excuse to deport vulnerable people back to danger. He just needed the virus. Title 42, implemented under pressure by the insurrectionist White House and against the wishes of public health experts, has now been in place since March 20, 2020.
The farcical nature and history of this policy are worth remembering as some Democrats are, disappointingly, giving in to bad-faith Republican attacks over the Biden administration’s decision to end the use of this order. Once again, ending this policy’s use simply returns us to how the asylum system worked on the day before March 20, 2020. Axios also claimed the White House itself was suddenly rethinking the May 23 date, which was rebutted by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday.
Responding to the numerous reports and statements, the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) said there’s “no defense for the continuation of Title 42 expulsions,” noting the consistent opposition from public health experts.
“Backpedaling the rescission of Title 42 makes the Biden administration further complicit with a racist policy that was designed as an attack on the very foundations of refugee protection policy,” said Executive Director Mary Meg McCarthy. “Once again, we call on the Biden administration and members of Congress to resume asylum processing at the border. The United States has the obligation, capacity and resources to reopen ports of entry to people seeking protection.”
“Democrats have a choice,” said America’s Voice Executive Director Frank Sharry. “They can stand for an America that recognizes immigrants and refugees as foundational to the American experiment, defends a welcoming tradition that is critical to the American future, and works to build an immigration system that integrates order and justice.” Or, they can cede to the GOP, “and let the vacuum they create be filled by those intent on advancing their countermajoritarian project,” he continued.
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Stephen Miller had been itching for a health crisis to usher in more of his agenda, report says