Florence Project Calls for the Immediate Resumption of Regular Asylum Processing at the Border

The Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project is dismayed by the continuation of the Title 42 border closure, which has now been in place for nearly three years, outlasting nearly every other COVID-19 pandemic measure in the United States. Ignoring both the fact that the President of the United States has broad authority over immigration policy and that the CDC has determined that the policy serves no public health interest, the United States Supreme Court halted Title 42’s end while it considers arguments concerning whether to allow 19 states, including Arizona, to intervene and join the case as parties.  

“Title 42 was never about public health,” said Laura St. John, Florence Project Legal Director. “It was invoked by the previous administration as a pretext to shut down access to asylum, which directly contradicts our fundamental values as Americans and our obligations under domestic and international law. Title 42 fails as a policy on every conceivable measure: it fails to achieve any purported law enforcement goals; it fails as a public health measure; it fails as a business or economic tool; and – most of all – it fails to protect the rights of asylum seekers under the law. It is shameful that the Biden administration, Congress, and the courts have allowed it to continue for nearly three years, and now indefinitely. We mourn for the people we serve and all those who seek refuge from persecution in the United States.”  

“For nearly three years, we have accompanied asylum seekers through heartaches and pain that are wholly unnecessary and directly inflicted upon them by the U.S. and Mexican governments through Title 42 and other border policies of deterrence,” said Chelsea Sachau, Managing Attorney for the Florence Project’s Border Action Team. “Our clients face severe harm and even death daily: at the hands of organized crime, from life-threatening medical conditions that the local medical system either will not or cannot treat, or lack of food or shelter from the harsh conditions of the Sonoran Desert. They should never have been forced to wait so long to seek international protection, and now the chance to even ask for protection continues to be denied to them under an illegal border policy.”  

We renew our calls for the Biden administration to restore asylum processing at the border through any means possible and stand in solidarity with all those seeking safety in the United States.