Brother and sister separated from parents are hugging each other in a foreign country, across a river.

With the End of Title 42, The Biden Administration Must Uphold the Right to Seek Asylum

[Washington, D.C.] – National immigrant legal defense advocate, Acacia Center for Justice, released the following statement in response to the official end of Title 42, a public health order abused by the Trump Administration to unlawfully deny migrants at the border the right to seek asylum.

With the long overdue end of Title 42, the Biden Administration must uphold the long-established legal right of migrants to seek asylum in safe and humane conditions. Title 42 was weaponized by the Trump Administration to undermine the right to asylum, and the Biden Administration promised to reverse the harm Title 42 caused to immigrant communities. Instead, this new transit ban falls short of that promise, by using so-called “expedited” proceedings, which deny asylum seekers access to the resources required to have a fair hearing, including legal representation. The stakes could not be higher–asylum is a life-and-death matter for many migrants–and the promise of fairness in asylum hearings is non-negotiable.

The new rule represents a monumental shift that will usher in a new, alarming era in our asylum process tainting any legacy the Biden Administration hoped to leave on immigration. These new restrictions, which were widely condemned by faith based organizations, legal experts, and the asylum officers’ union, are not a mark of progress – they are a continuation of discriminatory policies that make it harder for immigrants to navigate our already complex and dehumanizing legal system.

Asylum is a human right. It is enshrined as such in U.S. law and our treaty obligations. People claiming the need for protection under the Refugee Convention have a right to have their cases heard–and to remain safe while doing so. Rather than embracing the Trump Administration’s unlawful and immoral attacks on migrants, the Biden Administration should fulfill its campaign promises and meet this moment by prioritizing long-term solutions that invest in the legal, case management, and support services people seeking asylum need to find safety with dignity.

Acacia Center for Justice works to provide everyone a fighting chance to state their case. Our organization will always welcome asylum seekers with robust legal defense and we will continue to staunchly advocate for fair access to asylum for all who seek it. As Title 42 sunsets, we call on the Biden Administration to turn this into an opportunity to act on promises made to protect the rights of immigrant communities and newcomers.

Shaina Aber, Executive Director, Acacia Center for Justice

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About Acacia Center for Justice

Acacia Center for Justice delivers and advocates for meaningful and effective access to justice and freedom for immigrants at risk of detention or deportation in partnership with an accountable, independent nationwide network of immigrant legal service providers and community partners. Acacia Center for Justice’s reach and impact are unparalleled. The national nonprofit currently operates seven federally funded programs and one state funded program through a network of nearly 60 legal service providers located in over 80 offices across the country.