The End of Title 42: A Long-Overdue Step Toward Rebuilding our Asylum System

April 1, 2022

WASHINGTON—The Biden administration announced today plans to end a border expulsions policy known as Title 42 by May 23. This policy allowed the U.S. government to turn people away at the U.S southern border over 1.7 million times in the past two years under the guise of protecting the country from COVID-19.

The Trump administration invoked Title 42—an obscure public health law—at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Biden administration continued it even while millions of people crossed the southern border every month through ports of entry and international flights continued throughout the pandemic.

Under Title 42, many asylum seekers have been sent back to Mexico, where they fell victim to criminal cartels and other bad actors.

The following statement is from Jeremy Robbins, executive director of the American Immigration Council:

“Title 42 represents the greatest restriction on access to the asylum process since Congress passed the Refugee Act in 1980. It has been a failed border management policy that has caused chaos along the border, immeasurable harm to innocent people seeking our protection, and diminished our standing on the world stage. Putting an end to the unjustified use of this policy is a long overdue step toward rebuilding a humanitarian protection system at the border that is safe, humane, and orderly.

“President Biden came into office promising to restore access to asylum. While we prefer that the administration begin the phased end to Title 42 immediately, we commend the decision to finally listen to the science and lift this horrific policy.

“Over the next six weeks, the Biden administration should prepare for the end to Title 42 by surging resources to the ports of entry to facilitate the processing of arriving asylum seekers. That includes reopening the ports of entry to asylum seekers after two years of closures. No person should feel as if their only way to access the asylum system is to cross the border between ports of entry. Rather than viewing asylum seekers with fear and suspicion, we should work on addressing the root causes of migration while creating a flexible humanitarian protection system that respects the lawful right to seek asylum and that can respond in times of global displacement.”

The American Immigration Council has research and other resources on asylum in the United States and policies affecting asylum seekers at the border, including experts available to speak on the impact of Title 42, rising border encounters in 2021, The “Migrant Protection Protocols”, and Metering and Asylum Turnbacks.


For more information, contact:

Maria Frausto at the American Immigration Council, [email protected] or 202-507-7526.

Media Contact

Elyssa Pachico
[email protected]

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