Advocacy and Legal Director at ACLU of Arizona Calls for End to Title 42 Expulsions

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By Joseph Shepard


PHOENIX, AZ – After a breakdown of negotiations between the ACLU and the federal government over little-known Title 42 expulsions, Victoria López, the Advocacy and Legal Director at the ACLU of Arizona, has written an op-ed calling for an end to the use of Title 42 to expel migrants.


Title 42, a relatively obscure provision that prohibits migrants from entering the country when there is a risk of spreading contagious disease, was first utilized in March 2020 by the Trump administration.


Objections have been made to the policy since then, especially in light of the current widespread availability of COVID-19 vaccines.


However, no action has been taken by the Biden administration on this particular issue, despite the fact that other controversial policies aimed at migrants—including the “return to Mexico policy” and other restrictions on asylum seekers—have since been halted.


López recalled the numerous policies implemented by the Trump administration in an effort to deter the migration of asylum seekers, but claimed that Title 42 was the most impactful of these measures due to the ability it grants the government to expel migrants without due process.


López also mentioned the tendency of Americans to view migrants as “numbers on a graph instead of human beings in crisis,” and she criticized lawmakers who “forget” about international and national laws regarding asylum.


“When people come to the U.S. seeking protection, they are doing so based on an extensive set of laws that allow them to seek asylum based on fear of persecution in their home country,” said López.


Emphasizing the impact that such policies have on asylum-seekers, López noted the case of a 10-year-old boy and his mother, who entered the U.S. but were immediately deported to Mexico under Title 42. In Mexico, the boy and his mother were kidnapped and held for ransom.


Their case is just one of many; according to Reuters more than 3,000 migrants have been kidnapped, raped, assaulted, or trafficked after being sent to Mexico.


Yet despite the tremendous human costs of policies such as Title 42, they still did nothing to deter or prevent people from seeking asylum in the first place, and only served to increase the backup of cases.


Due to this, López believes it is time for something to change, writing: “The current system isn’t working, and needs to be rebuilt.”


Instead of relying on traditional strategies, which center around law enforcement, López believes the solution is to change the way U.S. Border Patrol uses its $18 billion budget.


Instead of focusing on expulsions, López wrote, Border Patrol should “focus more on solutions that reflect our values and commitment to treating asylum-seekers fairly and with dignity, including supporting community-run and humanitarian-focused services that support people seeking asylum as they present their cases seeking protection in the U.S.”


López wrote, “The first step toward restoring our promise of offering the freedom and liberty this country has granted to so many before us is to end all Title 42 expulsions. Only then can we work to provide a lawful and humane process for those seeking asylum.”


About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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