End expelling Asylum Seekers at the Southern Border in 2021

Since the beginning of February 2021, hundreds of, mainly black and brown migrants, have been forced on ICE planes and hastily deported back to dangers that they fled from without receiving a chance to access asylum, adequate due process and humanitarian protections.

Lives are in jeopardy and time is of the essence. Immediate concrete action must take place to protect migrants like ending the former administration’s deadly and discriminatory Title 42 expulsion policy and suspending all deportation flights so that due process and not racism determines who can and cannot be afforded humanitarian protection. President Biden can end Title 42 and Congress must ask him to do it immediately.

The Title 42 expulsion policy was introduced on March 19, 2020, after the Trump administration directed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to issue an order, blocking immigrants from seeking asylum while allowing all economic and other travellers to enter the U.S. The Biden administration has continued this awful Trump era policy.

We reiterate our urgent recommendations to end the misuse of Title 42, on the basis of which the U.S. government is expelling asylum seekers to danger in violation of U.S. refugee law. Leading public health experts have repeatedly explained that the policy “has no scientific basis as a public health measure.” Its continued implementation prevents those waiting at ports of entry from seeking asylum, precipitates needless family separations, and particularly harms African and Haitian asylum seekers who are disparately impacted by this illegal policy

What is Asylum?

Asylum is a protection granted to foreign nationals already in the United States or arriving at the border who meet the international law definition of a “refugee.” The United Nations 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol define a refugee as  “someone who is unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion.” Congress incorporated this definition into U.S. immigration law in the Refugee Act of 1980.

The Refugee Act  of 1980, established two paths to obtain refugee status; 1) from abroad as a resettled refugee or 2) at the border or while in the United States as an asylum seeker. Seeking asylum is a right and all who claim asylum must be heard.  All claims must be adjudged fairly and independently.

Since 2017 Executive Orders, administrative rules, policies and practices have made it almost impossible to seek asylum in U.S.  especially at the U.S.- Mexico border.

A Snapshot of Asylum Policies at the Border: October 2020

Amidst the chaos of numerous overlapping policies in operation at the border, Covid-19 has come to define the border as the overarching threat to the sanctity of our asylum system. This document offers a brief explanation of the key asylum policies that our currently impacting the border as of October 1, 2020, starting with the most recent policy that has allowed the administration to use the mask of our public health crisis to effectively end asylum at the border for the foreseeable future.  READ MORE