“We have been waiting for so long for this news. We have been waiting and suffering.”
– Lucero, an asylum seeker who has been waiting for nine months for the chance to seek protection in the U.S.
Together, the Florence Project and Kino Border Initiative welcome the news that the Title 42 order will be terminated effective May 23, 2022. This would not have happened without the courageous migrants who organized and protested against this policy and who marched in the streets as recently as last week in defense of their right to seek protection in the United States.
As we celebrate this important first step toward restoring access to asylum in the U.S., we must also remember that people will continue to be harmed by this dangerous policy until May 23. Thus, it is critical that the Administration take immediate action to ensure that during this termination implementation period, immigration authorities use their discretionary power to immediately begin exempting the most vulnerable individuals and families from Title 42.
Moreover, the relief we feel at today’s news does not change the horror that this policy has needlessly inflicted on tens of thousands of people for the last two years. For two years, we have borne witness to the life-threatening circumstances that Title 42 has forced asylum seekers into. People are threatened and extorted; they have been kidnapped and held hostage; they regularly report having to save their children from being kidnapped in broad daylight; and they face discrimination in housing, employment, and education for their children. They have not had access to life-saving medical care for themselves or their children.
Thus, we now call on the Biden administration to act swiftly to ensure that the planned return to humane, fair, and safe border processing lives up to this administration’s promises. That inherently includes working openly and collaboratively with partner organizations on the ground, like ours, to welcome all people seeking protection with dignity. We will continue to work tirelessly until every person seeking protection is able to do so, as is their right under U.S. and international law, and we remain ready, willing, and able to embrace this opportunity to collaborate with the administration to ensure that this vision becomes reality.
We know much work lies ahead and we implore the government to partner with us in this effort, but today we are celebrating with the migrants that we serve. This is a day that we have been working toward for two years. We remain optimistic that one day soon they will receive the safety and protection they have tirelessly and courageously sought, and we are ready to stand alongside them in that fight no matter what obstacles may come.