Biden Doubles Down on Trump-Era Cruelty at the Border

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Today President Biden announced a series of new policies that will further restrict access to asylum at the U.S. southern border. The Biden administration will expand the use of its deadly Title 42 policy to expel asylum seekers from Cuba, Haiti, and Nicaragua to danger in Mexico, with no legal process whatsoever. The administration is presenting this expansion of Title 42 as a condition for the launch of a limited parole program that will benefit some individuals from Cuba, Haiti, and Nicaragua who meet certain qualifications, including having a U.S. sponsor.

Researchers have documented rampant human rights violations against asylum seekers forced back to Mexico under Title 42, including brutal violence against Haitians and other Black asylum seekers. The Title 42 policy was found to violate U.S. law in Huisha-Huisha v. Mayorkas, a lawsuit brought by the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS) and our partners.

The administration also announced that it will soon propose regulations that would resurrect Trump-era bans on asylum, including additional obstacles for those who are unable to find safety in countries they pass through en route to the U.S. border - countries that are notoriously dangerous for refugees and migrants. Similar restrictions under the previous administration were found unlawful.

“Today President Biden proudly touted his commitment to providing legal pathways for asylum seekers and improving conditions at the U.S.-Mexico border. These were empty words,” said Kate Jastram, CGRS Director of Policy & Advocacy. “By expanding its deadly Title 42 policy to Haitians, Cubans, and Nicaraguans, the Biden administration is going far beyond what any court has required it to do. This expansion will put vulnerable refugees in harm’s way and exacerbate violence and chaos in border communities.”

“People fleeing persecution have a legal right to seek asylum at our border under both U.S. and international law, no matter how they get here, no matter who they know, and no matter what documents they hold,” Jastram continued. “Many are forced to escape their homes under threat of death at a moment’s notice, with nothing more than the clothes on their backs. Their rights should never be supplanted by limited and discriminatory parole programs that offer relief only to a lucky few. We are also deeply disturbed that the administration has announced plans to revive and repackage the Trump-era asylum transit ban. President Biden cannot pledge to hold the ‘torch of liberty’ aloft, then turn around and embrace the most inhumane, anti-refugee policies of his predecessor.”