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ImmDef Denounces President Biden’s Expansion of the Title 42 Policy & Enhanced Enforcement Measures

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 05, 2023

Contact: Sarai Herrera; sherrera@immdef.org


LOS ANGELES – On Thursday morning, President Biden delivered remarks on new border enforcement measures, stating that Title 42 will be expanded to include Cuban, Nicaraguan, and Haitian nationals. President Biden also announced humanitarian parole for a small number of nationals from these countries to enter the United States. The Administration plans to enhance the use of expedited removal and propose a new policy that will create a rebuttable presumption of asylum ineligibility for people who do not seek protection in a country through which they traveled on their way to the U.S.


President Biden campaigned on restoring humanity to our immigration system, but today’s announcement makes it clear that his administration—like the prior administration—has chosen to make it more difficult for those seeking protection to find it at our nation’s borders. ImmDef welcome’s an increased use of humanitarian parole to allow some of those seeking safety to enter the country. However, limited humanitarian measures should not be tied to even harsher policies targeting those forced to flee peril.


The heart wrenching human toll that Title 42 has had on the lives of thousands of persons in need of asylum is clear. Human Rights First released a report confirming at least 13,480 instances of murder, torture, kidnapping, rape and other violent attacks on migrants and asylum seekers over the last two years. The continued use and expansion of Title 42 has effectively created an asylum ban and President Biden’s border policies are disheartening. ImmDef urges the Biden Administration and the courts to restore access to the asylum process along with humane immigration policies.


Lindsay Toczylowski, Executive Director of Immigrant Defenders Law Center states, “President Biden, who promised to restore humanity at our border, is now proposing his own version of a travel ban targeting all asylum seekers--those people who most need protection. The United States needs courageous leaders who will rebuild our asylum system so that there is safe and orderly processing of people fleeing persecution, not the revival of long-failed deterrence policies and bans that harm those who turn to us for help. Today's announcement is further proof of how far the previous administration and right-wing demagogues have moved the moral goal posts on this issue. Now, even those who once championed just and humane asylum policies are proposing disastrous plans to harm thousands of vulnerable individuals and families.”


In response to the administration’s new proposals, Alvaro M. Huerta, ImmDef’s Director of Litigation & Advocacy, stated, “Today’s announcement effectively means that the Biden Administration has chosen to expand the use of Title 42 by adding Cuban, Haitian, and Nicaraguan nationals to the list of those who would be expelled to Mexico if they do not meet the requirements of the new parole program. The Administration’s increased use of expedited removal and reliance on a flawed asylum processing rule means that more people will be deported without sufficient due process. And the announcement of an upcoming proposed rule creating a presumption of asylum ineligibility confirms that the Biden Administration aims to make it harder for asylum seekers to enter the United States. Where is the compassion that Biden promised on the campaign trail?”


“After the prior administration’s efforts to destroy the U.S. asylum system, we expected the Biden Administration to pursue humanitarian measures that would renew and expand pathways for those in need of asylum. Instead, we’ve been given anti-asylum policies at the U.S. southern border including this asylum ban, which requires those fleeing persecution to apply from the very places where they’re in active danger. The essence of asylum is to have a system in place for those needing to flee toward safety and freedom. We cannot ask people to stay in place when their rights are being denied and their lives are at risk. We cannot tell a woman who is being beaten and has no government protection not to flee for safety. We cannot tell LGBTQ+ people to stay in place while they are discriminated against and potentially killed. A humane asylum system should never require a person whose life is in danger to wait patiently and risk being killed while we sort out how to process people at the border. We know how to do it; we’ve done it before. It’s time to restore our asylum system now,” said Margaret Cargioli, Immigrant Defenders Law Center, Directing Attorney, Policy and Advocacy.

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Immigrant Defenders Law Center (ImmDef) is a next-generation social justice law firm that defends our immigrant communities against injustices in the legal system. We envision a future where no immigrant will be forced to face immigration court alone. Our programs are a first step towards the long-term goal of providing universal representation to all immigrants facing deportation. ImmDef is now the largest non‐profit, pro bono provider of deportation defense in California with offices in Los Angeles, Adelanto, Riverside, Santa Ana, and San Diego.

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