Senate Democrats call on Biden admin to end Trump-era immigration rule
Senate Democrats on Saturday called on the Biden administration to end the use of Title 42, a Trump-era immigration rule enacted in the early days of the pandemic to immediately expel migrants at the border under a public health emergency.
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) as well as Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), issued a statement that it is time to officially end the policy.
“The continued use of Title 42 has created life-threatening conditions for vulnerable migrants, enriched human smugglers, and significantly increased the number of dangerous border crossings,” the senators said. “We urge the Biden Administration to fulfill its early promise to restore access to asylum and end the usage of Title 42 once and for all.”
The Department of Homeland Security is still operating under Title 42 two years after former President Trump implemented the order, expelling hundreds of thousands of migrants.
The Biden administration, however, carved out an exception for unaccompanied migrant children, but a Texas judge ruled against the exemption on Friday.
A separate judge on Friday ruled migrants can be expelled under the order, but not to countries where they face risk of persecution or torture.
In their joint statement, the senators cited last summer’s crisis at the border, when Haitian families gathered in encampments in Del Rio, Texas, and were later expelled, as a concerning use of Title 42. At the time, Haiti was reeling from political chaos and natural disaster.
“We all watched in horror as thousands of Haitian families, including infants, were returned to Haiti without the opportunity to seek asylum,” the senators said. “Turning away families seeking protection from torture or persecution is not who we are.”
The lawmakers also said that the use of Title 42 needed to be reassessed as a public health measure, given that the United States appeared to be entering a new stage of the pandemic.
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention should review their current order given the progress our nation has made in its pandemic recovery,” the senators said. “As we emerge from this pandemic, it is time for the Administration to reinstate humanitarian protections at our borders.”
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