WASHINGTON, D.C. — In the two years since Title 42 was announced, it has proved dangerous for migrants, reduced order at the border, and benefited smugglers and cartels.
Furthermore, as the anniversary of its announcement approaches Sunday, any public-health rationale for the policy has faded, experts agree.
Implemented by President Donald Trump at the outset of the pandemic, Title 42 is a public-health protocol under which many migrants at the border are expelled and denied access to the asylum system.
Already, the administration is planning for human trafficking networks in Mexico and Central America to exploit an end to Title 42, as Axios reports this morning. That possibility only further demonstrates the need to wind down the policy and break the incentives that have allowed criminal elements to take advantage of it. Migrants bear the effects: According to an August Human Rights First report, there had been 6,356 publicly documented instances of kidnappings, sexual assaults, and other violent attacks on migrants who have been forcibly returned to Mexico under Title 42.
The policy also inflates border-crossing numbers, as many people who are turned away under Title 42 try to cross — and are counted — repeatedly. According to February numbers released this week, repeat crossers accounted for 30% of apprehensions.
“As a person of faith, I strongly believe the administration should end Title 42,” said Bruce Collier, Next Gen Pastor at First Baptist Church Medina in Medina, Ohio. “Throughout The Holy Bible we see God’s heart of compassion and concern for His most prized creation: people. Ending Title 42 will be a step in showing we value the things God values. Made in his image, humans should always be treated humanely.”
“I’ve personally encountered hundreds of legitimate and lawful asylum-seeking families who are lingering in the border towns of Mexico with no clear pathway in any direction because of Title 42,” said Eric Costanzo, Ph.D., Lead Pastor at South Tulsa Baptist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. “They cannot yet enter the United States, and they certainly can’t go back home. Home is not safe, that’s why they fled. Each day this inhumane and ineffective policy stays in place, the more vulnerable and exposed these families become.”
“The U.S. should do what it takes to immediately end Title 42,” said Stephen K. Reeves, Director of Advocacy of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship & Executive Director at Fellowship Southwest. “The policy has caused untold suffering among desperate and vulnerable migrants stuck in cartel controlled border towns. We should no longer outsource their care and protection to Mexican churches and communities. We must do what is right, and do what it takes to establish a fair and timely asylum process.”
“It is time for President Biden to end Title 42 and implement an orderly process,” said Ali Noorani, President and CEO of the National Immigration Forum. “Title 42 serves the goals of cartels and smugglers, not Americans. The administration can take steps to replace Title 42 with policies that better protect due process and ultimately end the current cycle of exploitation by criminal networks.
“We can achieve border security through practical and humane processing, along with the strategic deployment of technology and personnel. There is no reason, public health or otherwise, to continue Title 42.”