Washington, DC & El Paso, TX - By the end of May 11, 2023, the Biden administration is scheduled to end Title 42, a public health policy implemented by the Trump administration during the COVID-19 pandemic as a pretext to deny asylum seekers their right to safety. While Columbans have long advocated for an end to this policy, we condemn the Biden administration for replacing it with yet another asylum ban.
We are concerned about what we are already seeing at the US/MX border, including the sending of even more troops to the border and the expedited removal of migrants. We are also afraid for the consequences of this new asylum ban on the wellbeing of migrants and the border communities that welcome them.
“Even though Title 42 is ending, the Biden administration is implementing new policies that continue to punish and deport and imprison migrants," said Cristina Coronado Flores, the Director of Migrant Ministries for the Columbans in Ciudad Juárez. "The US feels like it can criminalize whoever it wants, but this will not stop people who are going to seek to enter through other ways. US policies will continue to create conditions where smugglers, organized crime, gangs, and human trafficking grows. We are going to see people disappeared, kidnapped. That is already happening, but it will be to a greater extent.”
In 2019, Columbans started our Migrant Ministry in Ciudad Juárez to welcome and protect the migrants impacted by the then-Migrant Protection Protocols (or, MPP) and later Title 42. Our ministry includes shelters, a welcome center and humantarian aid facility, and pastoral care.
“Even though Title 42 is ending, Columbans still fear for the safety of migrants because under the Biden administration's new policy they will be subject to further violence and even death in Mexico," said Cynthia Gonzalez, US Advocacy Coordinator for the Columbans. "This new asylum rule is yet another policy in a long line that continues to put people in danger. We call on the Biden administration to take a new approach to immigration policy, one founded on welcome and compassion, that respect each migrant's right to a thriving life."
All anti-asylum policies are an attack on the God-given dignity of every migrant. Catholic Social Teaching states that countries are obligated to design and conduct their immigration processes with mercy and justice. Governments should understand their duties in light of the absolute dignity of all people and their sacred commitment to the common good (cf. Pacem in Terris, 103-107).
Columbans believe that the United States government is squandering its God-given opportunity to welcome migrants, who announce to us all that the current political system is failing and that with a conversion of heart we can build a different world.
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Contact: Wesley Cocozello, Communications Manager