Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service

Vote NO on Bills to Extend Title 42 and Restore the U.S. to Regular Order
Sens. Lankford (R-OK) and Sinema (D-AZ) introduced a bill that would indefinitely block asylum access and have lasting detrimental effects on the American asylum system. A companion bill was introduced in the House by Reps. Gonzalez (R-OH-16) and Golden (D-ME-2) and House Republicans are now attempting to use the discharge petition tool to force a vote on Title 42.  Combined, these bills would forbid the government from terminating Title 42 until it ends other vital COVID-19 measures.  These bills seek to effectively shut down the asylum system by codifying Title 42 into U.S. law, endangering people seeking safety and fueling chaos at the border.

Today, Title 42 continues to cause dynamics that echo prior Administration policies that led to the separation of families. As they are denied entry into the United States, families -- including Ukrainians, Afghans, and others -- are being burdened with the impossible decision to face continued persecution and dangers in border encampments or send their children unaccompanied across the United States border. Those children arriving unaccompanied, rather than in the presence of their guardians, necessitate a rallying of wrap-around casework and government resources that dwarf what would have been required by the U.S. government if they had been permitted to enter with their families. LIRS knows this intimately as one of two national faith-based organizations charged with providing medium- and long-term foster care for unaccompanied children arriving at the U.S. southern border.  The fact that the U.S. is continuing this policy despite the rise of unaccompanied minors crossing the border should deeply alarm all who believe in the asylum process and keeping families together. 

Title 42 is a border enforcement tool – misrepresented as a health policy – and should not be used as a crutch in actually creating immigration policies that establish a humane and secure border. Nor should Title 42 be used to further xenophobic policies in the United States government. Indeed, Title 42 and the bills introduced to codify it politicize the COVID-19 emergency public health declaration, thereby jeopardizing public trust and making Americans less safe. Public health experts, including the CDC, confirm Title 42 has no credible basis in upholding the public health of individuals in the United States.

The usage of Title 42 in respect to asylum seekers is a direct violation of U.S. law. It separates families from one another, stains our country’s reputation, undermines our laws, and distorts regular order in the United States. Act to urge Congress to vote NO on efforts to extend it!

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