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April 1, 2022

Rep. Ayanna Pressley’s Statement on End of Title 42 Policy

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) issued the following statement on the Biden Administration’s announcement that it would end the Title 42 policy in the coming months.

“For the past two years, the racist and xenophobic Title 42 policy has done nothing but inflict unspeakable hurt and harm on migrants—particularly Black and brown migrants—denying millions their fundamental right to seek asylum and resulting in the inhumane deportations of 1.7 million people fleeing violence and humanitarian crises across the globe. This Trump-era policy, which flies in the face of everything we should stand for as a nation, was never about protecting the public health—it was always about stoking anti-immigrant hate and undermining our humanitarian obligation to asylum seekers. 

“After consistently calling on President Biden to end Title 42, I’m relieved to see the Administration has finally heeded our calls. Asylum seekers and their allies in the movement and in Congress have been organizing day in and day out to repeal this harmful policy. This long-overdue action will undoubtedly save lives and is a critical step towards building a fair and effective asylum system for all.

“Make no mistake—ending Title 42 is only the first step. President Biden must lead with compassion and take every measure necessary to protect asylum seekers by ensuring that they have access to community-based supports and legal services, immediately halting deportations of migrants to the ongoing humanitarian disaster in Haiti, and working to designate Temporary Protected Status for Cameroon, Ethiopia and other majority-Black countries in crisis.

“We must be equitable in our empathy and compassion for asylum seekers regardless of where they are coming from, and I applaud the Biden Administration for taking this much-needed step.”

Last month, Rep. Pressley, along with Rep. Mondaire Jones (NY-17), called on Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky to fully end Title 42, cease deportations of people to Haiti and affirm their legal and fundamental human right to seek asylum.

As a founding co-chair of the House Haiti Caucus, Rep. Pressley has been an outspoken critic of the Title 42 policy, which has been weaponized to deny migrants—including Haitian and other Black migrants—their legal right to claim asylum in the United States.

In February, Reps. Pressley, Judy Chu (CA-27), and Nydia Velázquez (NY-07) led 33 other House Democrats on a letter to CDC Director Walensky demanding answers about the agency’s justification for treating asylum seekers as a unique public health threat, how these expulsions are being coordinated, how asylum seekers being returned to dangerous situations are being cared for, and more. Days later, Rep. Pressley once again called on the Biden Administration to reverse the Title 42 Order and other anti-Black immigration policies.

Rep. Pressley has consistently called on the Department of Homeland Security to end the practice of expelling migrants under Title 42 and to employ alternative forms of humanitarian relief for detainees subject to deportation for the remainder of the pandemic.

In September, Rep. Pressley and Rep. Velázquez led 54 of their colleagues on a letter calling on the Biden Administration to immediately halt deportations to Haiti and provide humanitarian parole protections for those seeking asylum. The lawmakers’ letter followed the Administration’s resumption of deportation flights to Haiti as thousands of Haitian migrants continue to await an opportunity to make an asylum claim at the border. 

Rep. Pressley joined her colleagues on the House Oversight Committee in demanding answers regarding the inhumane treatment of migrants in Del Rio, Texas, by Border Patrol agents on horseback and pushing to Biden Administration to end the ongoing use and weaponization of Title 42.

Massachusetts is home to the third largest Haitian diaspora community in the country, with approximately 46,000 Haitians and Haitian-Americans living across the state and over half in the Boston metropolitan area. Additionally, Massachusetts is home to more than 4,700 Haitians with Temporary Protected Status.