Nearly one year since taking office, Pres. Biden continues to violate U.S. asylum law and treaty obligations by turning away asylum seekers. The following article was published in the January-February 2022 issue of NewsNotes.
On Dec. 3, 2021, more than 80 Catholic Sisters held a prayer vigil outside White House calling on President Joe Biden to rescind Title 42 regulations and the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as “Remain in Mexico,” both of which make it easy for U.S. border agents to turn away asylum seekers. Organized by NETWORK Lobby, Maryknoll Sisters Mary Ann Smith and Ann Braudis traveled from New York to Washington, to join sisters who came from across the country, to bring their concern for the safety of migrants at the border to President Biden, a fellow Catholic.
This event followed months of opposition to Title 42 including a September letter to President Biden by more than 150 Catholic organizations. Mary Novak, Executive Director of NETWORK Lobby, said “People of faith recognize the internationally recognized right to seek asylum, and call on President Biden to rescind Title 42 and end the use of MPP.”
On Dec. 17, more than 240 organizations sent another letter detailing these concerns to President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris:
“Despite repeated statements decrying Remain in Mexico as dangerous and inhumane – and issuing memoranda to terminate it – this administration has inexplicably and unconscionably chosen to expand Remain in Mexico beyond the scope of it under the prior administration. Now, non-Mexican migrants and asylum seekers from any country in the Western Hemisphere are subject to forced returns to danger in Mexico, including Haitians, who often face targeted anti-Black violence and discrimination there.
“The first implementation of Remain in Mexico led to massive human rights violations with more than 1,500 reported killings, kidnappings, rapes, torture, and other violent attacks against people returned to Mexico. There is no reason to believe this time will be different.
The decision earlier this month to renew the Title 42 order issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for another 60 days and use this unjustifiable policy in conjunction with Remain in Mexico to block, return, and expel people seeking asylum in the United States to danger is gravely concerning. There is no public health justification for continuing to bar people seeking protection at the border, as senior CDC scientists and other public health experts, including Dr. Fauci, have repeatedly explained to Congress and the public.”§
Faith in action: Tell Pres. Biden to restore asylum by ending “Remain in Mexico” and Title 42 policies. https://bit.ly/3eTAA45