SAN DIEGO, CA (KGTV) - Groups across the nation, including the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium, rallied Monday calling for an end to Title 42.
“End Title 42, end Title 42!” chanted a group of immigrant rights advocates outside of the busy San Ysidro Port of Entry.
Many asylum seekers from different parts of the world have been rapidly turned away by border authorities at the U.S.-Mexico border under the controversial Title 42 that has been used during the pandemic.
The Trump-era health order allows for border authorities to expel migrants without due process, citing public health concerns under Title 42.
It was recently lifted for unaccompanied children but remains in place for adults and families.
Immigration advocates say the policy hasn’t been enforced fairly and discriminates against migrants from certain countries, like Haitians and Central Americans.
“It's long past time for the Biden Administration to uphold refugee law and establish a safe and orderly process for asylum at our border,” said Lindsay Toczylowski, Executive Director of Immigrant Defenders Law Center. “People need to be given access to due process and all asylum protections, this should include politically oppressed people from Russia, it should include Hondurans fleeing unspeakable violence, Haitians fleeing political unrest.”
Toczylowski spoke of Central American families being turned away Monday as they attempted to seek asylum.
“Today as we stood at this port of entry and our three Central American clients were being turned away and having doors slammed in their face, I asked the CBP officer, ‘Why? Why have exceptions been made in recent days, and people from Eastern European countries been accepted as exceptions to Title 42.’ He has no answers for us.”
Recently, a memo sent to border authorities allowed for exemptions to Title 42 for Ukrainians on a case-by-case basis, some are now being granted humanitarian parole, but the memo makes no mention of migrants from any other countries, including Russians who have also been waiting in Mexico after protesting the war in Ukraine.
“When folks present themselves, they're not even heard, their stories are not even considered, they're just immediately turned away,” said Lilian Serrano, co-director of Southern Border Communities Coalition. “Our laws indicate that if somebody comes to our border and seeks asylum, we process them, give them a day in court to expose their case, present their evidence and a judge will decide if they stay or not, but that’s not happening.”
Monday, when asked if the Biden Administration is preparing for a possibility that Title 42 could end, press secretary Jen Psaki responded with, “There are timelines, including, I think, upcoming in April, on when it’s — continues to be reconsidered. And those discussions happen among the health experts from the CDC and other medical experts within the administration.”