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March 20, 2020

Our Work to End the Title 42 Policy

Human Rights First has been monitoring the harms and advocating for an end to the illegal Title 42 policy since it was first issued by the Trump administration in March 2020. The Department of Homeland Security has used the policy to block and expel people seeking refuge at the border without allowing them to apply for asylum in the United States.

In April 2022, the Biden administration determined that the Title 42 policy would end on May 23, 2022, but that termination has been blocked by a court order that remains in effect pending appeal.

Human Rights First continues our efforts to end the Title 42 policy for good. We deeply appreciate our partnerships with countless other legal, human rights, public health and other organizations and advocates in monitoring and advocating against the misuse of this public health authority to evade U.S. and international refugee law.


Tracking Title 42 Attacks

Human Rights First has tracked at least 10,318 reports of kidnapping, murder, torture, rape, and other violent attacks against migrants and asylum seekers blocked in or expelled to Mexico between January 2021 and mid-June 2022 due to the Title 42 policy. This count is based on interviews with asylum seekers conducted by Human Rights First, responses to an ongoing survey of asylum seekers conducted by the organization Al Otro Lado, and media and human rights reporting. It is likely just the tip of the iceberg since few asylum seekers have spoken with investigators, journalists, or attorneys.

Download the list of attacks


Human Rights First Research on Title 42

Through hundreds of interviews with asylum seekers, attorneys, and humanitarian workers, research visits to Mexican border towns where asylum seekers have been blocked or expelled under Title 42, and review of media and human rights reporting, Human Rights First has extensively documented the human rights harms of the Title 42 policy and the disorder it has created at the U.S.-Mexico border through more than a dozen published reports and factsheets.

The Nightmare Continues: Title 42 Court Order Prolongs Human Rights Abuses, Extends Disorder at U.S. Borders (June 2022)

Extending Title 42 Would Escalate Dangers, Exacerbate Disorder, and Magnify Discrimination (April 2022, with Al Otro Lado and Haitian Bridge Alliance)

Two Years of Suffering: Biden Administration Continues Use of Discredited Title 42 Order to Flout Refugee Law (March 2022)

Ten Reasons to End the Title 42 Policy (March 2022)

The Opposite of Orderly and Humane: Use of Title 42 Spurs Disorder and Undermines Security (February 2022)

Restarting Orderly Process Critical to Managing Arrival of Asylum Seekers at Arizona Border (February 2022)

A Shameful Record: Biden Administration’s Use of Trump Policies Endangers People Seeking Asylum (January 2022)

Border Restrictions Lift, But Biden Administration Blocks Protection for Asylum Seekers and Children (November 2021, with Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project)

“Illegal and Inhumane”: Biden Administration Continues Embrace of Trump Title 42 Policy as Attacks on People Seeking Refuge Mount (October 2021)

Biden Administration’s Dangerous Haitian Expulsion Strategy Escalates the U.S. History of Illegal and Discriminatory Mistreatment of Haitians Seeking Safety in the United States (September 2021)

Human Rights Travesty: Biden Administration Embrace of Trump Asylum Expulsion Policy Endangers Lives, Wreaks Havoc (August 2021)

Disorderly and Inhumane: Biden Administration Continues to Expel Asylum Seekers to Danger While U.S. Border Communities Stand Ready to Welcome (July 2021, with Hope Border Institute)

Update: Grave Dangers Continue for Asylum Seekers Blocked In, Expelled to Mexico by Biden Administration (June 2021)

Biden Administration Title 42 Expulsions of Families and Adults to Nuevo Laredo Fuel Kidnappings and Endanger Lives (May 2021, with RAICES and Interfaith Welcome Coalition)

Failure to Protect: Biden Administration Continues Illegal Trump Policy to Block and Expel Asylum Seekers to Danger (April 2021, with Al Otro Lado and Haitian Bridge Alliance)

Humanitarian Disgrace: U.S. Continues to Illegally Block, Expel Refugees to Danger (December 2021)

Pandemic as Pretext: Trump Administration Exploits COVID-19, Expels Asylum Seekers and Children to Escalating Danger (May 2020)


Partnering With Public Health Experts to Challenge Title 42

Human Rights First partnered with epidemiologists and public health experts to expose the unjustifiable, so-called public health rationale for the Title 42 policy.

Use of Public Health as Pretext to Ban and Block Refugees (December 2021)

CDC Relied on False Assertions in Issuing COVID-19 Order Being Used to Illegally Override U.S. Asylum Laws (June 2021)

Public Health Recommendations for Processing Families, Children and Adults Seeking Asylum or Other Protection at the Border (December 2020, Columbia Mailman School of Public Health - Forced Migration and Health, Doctors of the World, Johns Hopkins Center for Humanitarian Health, Milken Institute School of Public Health, Physicians for Human Rights)

Public Health Measures to Safely Manage Asylum Seekers and Children at the Border (May 2020, Columbia Mailman School of Public Health - Forced Migration and Health, Doctors for America, Doctors of the World, Johns Hopkins Center for Humanitarian Health, Physicians for Human Rights, Refugees International, Women's Refugee Commission)

Comment on Interim Final Rule: Suspension of Introduction of Persons Into United States (April 2020)


Human Rights First Testimony, Legal Submissions, and Amicus Briefs Against Title 42

In the campaign to end the Title 42 policy Human Rights First has brought our advoacy efforts to the halls of Congress, the federal courts, and to international human rights mechanisms.

Arizona v. CDC (Amicus Brief, May 2022)

Examining Title 42 and the Need to Restore Asylum at the Border (House Homeland Security Committee testimony, April 2022)

U.S. Asylum and Border Policies Resulting in Human Rights Violations (UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Migrants, March 2022)

Huisha Huisha v. Mayorkas (Declaration, October 2021)

Request for Precautionary Measures against the U.S. for Title 42 Expulsions (Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, October 2021)

Illegal Pushbacks by the United States of People Seeking Refugee Protection (UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Migrants, February 2021)


Advocacy Letters to the U.S. Government on Title 42

With the Welcome with Dignity Campaign and dozens of faith-based, human and immigrants rights, and humanitarian organizations, Human Rights First has pressed the Biden and Trump administration to end the disastrous Title 42 policy. 

Civil Society Letter on Immediate Actions to Mitigate the Harms of Title 42 (June 2022)

Urging the Administration to Oppose Legislation to Delay Ending Title 42 (April 2022)

Letter to President Biden and Vice President Harris on Two Years of Title 42 (March 2022)

Letter to Biden/Harris on Expulsions of Venezuelan Asylum Seekers to Colombia (February 2022)

Joint Letter in Response to RMX 2.0 and Title 42 Continuation (December 2021)

Joint Letter to President Biden, Secretary Mayorkas & AG Garland on Title 42 (September 2021)

Letter to President Biden on Expulsion Flights to Southern Mexico & Changes to Asylum Processing (August 2021)

NGO Letter to Biden Administration Expressing Profound Disappointment in Continued Violations of Refugee Law (August 2021)

Letter to President Biden on Reported Title 42 Expulsion Policy Extension (June 2021)

NGO Letter to Biden Administration on Asylum Seeker Expulsions to Haiti (March 2021)

NGO Letter to Biden Administration Urging End to Misuse of Title 42 Public Health Authority (February 2021)

Indefinite Suspension of Protections for Asylum Seekers and Unaccompanied Children Under May 19, 2020 Order by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (May 2020)

Illegal Expulsions by the Department of Homeland Security under the March 20, 2020 Order by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (April 2020)


Explaining Title 42 Through Blogs and Op-Eds

Through blog and opinion pieces, Human Rights First has sought to explain our research on Title 42 and why the policy must end.

The CDC’S Extension of the Title 42 Order: Misusing Public Health Authority (December 2021)

Title 42 is Not About Public Health. It’s About Exclusion. (October 2021)

To Protect the Lives of LGBTQ Asylum Seekers, the Biden Administration Must Fully End Title 42 (July 2021)

Kidnapped, Raped, and Robbed: Dangerous Title 42 Expulsions to Mexico Continue (May 2021)

"They Lied to Us”: Biden Administration Continues to Expel, Mistreat Families Seeking Asylum (May 2021)

Title 42: The Cruel Trump Policy Continuing Under Biden (March 2021)