Urge President Biden to end the "Remain in Mexico" policy and the misuse of Title 42 public health law to expel asylum seekers and migrants at the border.
President Biden recently reinstated and expanded "Remain in Mexico," or the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) policy, despite campaign promises to end this inhumane policy. The policy forces asylum seekers to wait in unsafe conditions in Mexican border towns for their immigration claims to be processed. It has now been expanded to include migrants from more countries, including Haiti.
In addition, he has maintained use of the Title 42 public health law to rapidly expel migrants and asylum seekers at the border, denying many their legal right to seek asylum.
Since March 2020, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has used Title 42 to block and expel migrants arriving at the southern border, including asylum seekers and children. The Title 42 health order was issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in 2020 under pressure from the Trump administration, despite objections by CDC health officials that there was no legitimate public health reason to justify such rapid expulsions.
Many migrants expelled under Title 42 have been sent back to their countries of origin, putting them at risk of persecution, torture and other serious danger in violation of U.S. refugee and anti-trafficking laws and treaty obligations. Migrants subject to the Remain in Mexico policy are forced to find temporary shelter in Mexican border towns, often at the mercy of gangs and without work or capacity to support themselves.
Heidi Cerneka, a Maryknoll lay missioner working as an immigration attorney at the border, says of the Title 42 policy, “I understand that it is complicated [to wind down], but this is a moral and legal issue, and it can’t wait.” She said she was “sad that things like Title 42 have not changed with the departure of Trump. Well-intentioned activist people keep telling us to be patient....But we can’t be patient because so many people have been denied justice, and their lives have been put at risk by our policies for far too long. So my job is not to be patient but to be impatient.”