Migrant Coalition: Extending Title 42 Entrenches Racism, Arbitrariness in the U.S. Asylum System

May 20, 2022
Elyssa Pachico  | +1 503 347 23 29 | [email protected] 
Myneilles Negron | +1 703 585 6727 | [email protected] 


WASHINGTON, DC — Today, a federal court in Louisiana issued a decision that would prevent the Biden administration from ending Title 42 after May 23. Alianza Americas, a coalition of 55 migrant-led groups in 18 states, condemns this decision and calls on Congress to vote against any amendment that would codify Title 42 into law. The court’s decision comes as Republicans in Congress are blocking the passage of a COVID-19 relief package, demanding an amendment vote that would reinstate Title 42 and make it more difficult to lift. 


Title 42 is a Trump-era policy that ended asylum for most people at the U.S.-Mexico border, under the pretense of a public health order that health experts say is groundless. According to Alianza Americas, should Congress vote to codify Title 42 into law, this would institute an asylum system that is fundamentally arbitrary, racist, and unjust: one in which the doors remain closed for majority Black, Brown, and Indigenous asylum seekers from the Americas, while majority-White Ukrainian and Russian asylum seekers are welcomed


“The outpouring of support for Ukrainians shows that should the U.S. government muster the political will, it is possible to manage large numbers of asylum seekers at the border in an orderly and humane way,” said Oscar Chacón, executive director of Alianza Americas. “Non-White asylum seekers and migrants also need a humanitarian response. Instead, we are deporting them in chains.”  


The debate in Congress around Title 42 is taking place even as new research by the Center for American Progress shows that this policy did nothing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the United States. Additionally, there is little evidence that the policy has fostered order along the U.S.-Mexico border, given how much Title 42 has driven up border crossings while also incentivizing family separation.  


“Title 42 was never about protecting public health. It was about eliminating the possibility of asylum for people who cross the border by foot, fleeing instability and violence resulting from multiple factors, including U.S. policies,” said Helena Olea, associate director of programs at Alianza Americas. “If Congress locks Title 42 into law, what we’re really talking about is creating an asylum system that selectively doles out protection for certain groups, while keeping out Black and Brown people.” 


If Congress moves on an amendment vote on Title 42, the amendment would likely draw heavily from the Lankford-Sinema bill. The bill would tie ending Title 42 to ending the COVID-19 emergency public health declaration — something that may not happen for years, given new virus variants. Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Congressional Progressive Caucus have said they would oppose any amendments or legislation that would reinstate Title 42. 


“The Lankford-Sinema bill upholds Stephen Miller’s hateful vision of a closed border. Rather than standing with the white nationalist ghost of Stephen Miller, Members of Congress should be reviewing President Biden’s plan for ending Title 42 and working with humanitarian groups to prepare to bring families, children, and adults to safety,” said Nancy Treviño, associate director for network power at Alianza Americas. “Our communities across the U.S. are ready to end Title 42 and welcome people seeking asylum with compassion and dignity. We need the White House and lawmakers to follow suit.” 




Alianza Americas is the premier transnational advocacy network of Latin American migrant-led organizations working in the United States, across the Americas, and globally to create an inclusive, equitable and sustainable way of life for communities across North, Central and South America. Alianza’s digital organizing powerhouse is Presente.org.

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