WASHINGTON — Catholic groups have welcomed an announcement from the Biden administration confirming the May 23 end of a public health measure put in place at the start of the coronavirus pandemic that kept asylum seekers out.
The Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc., known as CLINIC, said in an April 1 statement that the end of Title 42 of the Public Health Safety Act is a “critical first step toward rebuilding a fair and welcoming asylum system that protects the safety and dignity of all”. immigrants”.
The Trump administration began enforcing Title 42 in March 2020 as coronavirus infections began to rise in the United States
Under this provision, Border Patrol agents were instructed to deport anyone caught trying to enter the United States illegally instead of processing them under immigration law in in force for asylum seekers.
On its website, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the provision was to prohibit “entry of certain persons who pose a potential health risk, either because they are subject to travel restrictions previously announced, or because they entered the country illegally to circumvent health screening measures.
While the Biden administration has received widespread criticism for not ending the Trump-era measure, officials have said Title 42 will be lifted when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention deems it safe. to do.
“We are relieved to hear that the Biden administration is finally planning to end Title 42 deportations,” said Susan Gunn, director of the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns. “We pray that this decision is part of a larger effort to restore the asylum system to allow fair treatment of migrants and asylum seekers.”
In El Paso, Texas, Dylan Corbett, executive director of the Hope Border Institute, said border communities welcome the disappearance of Title 42 and that organizations want to work with the administration to “safely and humanely receive the asylum seekers”.
“Now is the time not only to start rebuilding,” he said, “but to dream of a future where all those in need of protection are welcomed and protected with dignity and compassion.”
Some said keeping the measure in place, even after Trump’s presidency ended, caused damage and a fraction and they were disappointed the Biden administration didn’t end it sooner.
“America’s welcome carpet is quite tattered and stained as a result of anti-immigration efforts over the past five years,” said Fran Eskin-Royer, executive director of the Good Shepherd Sisters National Advocacy Center, adding that his organization, “had hoped America would lay down a fresh, clean welcome mat with the arrival of President (Joe) Biden at the White House.
On April 1, the CDC said on its website that “after reviewing current public health conditions and increased availability of tools to combat COVID-19 — such as vaccines and highly effective treatments — the CDC director has determined that an order suspending the right to bring migrants into the United States is no longer necessary.
But many faith groups said they believed the measure had little to do with health.
“We will not forget the lives lost and those hurt by this illegal and racist policy,” said Lisa Parisio, CLINIC’s advocacy director. “We now call on the Biden administration to work quickly to ensure the successful implementation of this decision and to go further and build an asylum system that welcomes with dignity all those who flee for their lives.
“CLINIC will continue to support asylum seekers and our partners to hold the Biden administration accountable to its promises and reject the politicization of human life.”