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Home / Press Release / Human Rights First Calls on Biden Administration to Uphold the Law & End Title 42 Expulsions
September 20, 2021

Human Rights First Calls on Biden Administration to Uphold the Law & End Title 42 Expulsions

WASHINGTON -- As the Biden administration ramps up its expulsion of Haitians and making arbitrary distinctions between groups fleeing persecution and danger, Human Rights First today urged the administration to end its Title 42 policy and restart asylum - including at ports of entry, rather than continuing to violate U.S. law and international treaties in ways that endanger the lives of people seeking safety in the United States. 

On Friday, the Biden administration revealed it would fight a federal court order to process the protection claims of families with children who seek asylum, choosing to appeal the ruling in Huisha-Huisha v Mayorkas. The following day, the Biden administration announced it would ramp up flights to expel Haitian migrants who have gathered in Del Rio, Texas under Title 42 rather than ensure access to asylum hearings or credible fear screenings as required by U.S. law. 

“The Biden administration’s misuse of Title 42 to expel people to danger and refusal to restart asylum aren’t just moral stains on the administration’s record, they directly violate and subvert U.S. refugee law and international treaties,” said Eleanor Acer, Senior Director of Refugee Protection. “From its horrific treatment of Haitians at the border to its pursuit of a policy that public health experts have confirmed is a xenophobic ploy rooted in racism, the Biden administration continues to wage, not wind down, President Trump’s all-out war on people seeking protection and the U.S asylum system.”

Today, Border Patrol officers on horseback in Del Rio, Texas, were photographed lashing what appeared to be whips at Haitian migrants and refugees -- racist and inhumane actions by those who have the power to determine whether these individuals may seek protection in the U.S. or will be returned to danger and political turmoil in Haiti. Rather than condemn these abuses, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas defended their mistreatment, creating a false dichotomy between the U.S. responsibility to Afghan and Haitian refugees.

“Let’s be clear: It took relentless pressure from civil society, leaders in the veterans’ community, and refugee advocates to push the Biden administration to evacuate and resettle our Afghan allies in the U.S. The process was certainly not ‘safe, orderly, and humane,’ as Secretary Mayorkas claims. It is and remains a humanitarian disaster,” said Jennifer Quigley, Senior Director of Government Affairs. “The crisis in Afghanistan and the fiasco at the border have a common thread: the Biden administration’s refusal to act to protect people fleeing persecution. The U.S. can provide safety to those seeking danger and persecution from around the world, and we will continue to work on this administration to ensure that they do.”

On Friday, Human Rights First and 70 organizations issued a letter to the Biden administration urging them to immediately and completely end Title 42. Human Rights First has tracked at least 6,356 kidnappings, sexual assaults, and other violent attacks against people blocked at ports of entry or expelled to Mexico by DHS since President Biden took office.