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April 29, 2022

Rep. Pressley Reaffirms Support for Ending Title 42

Video (YouTube)

WASHINGTON – At a press conference on Capitol Hill, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) reaffirmed her support for President Biden’s decision to end Title 42, the racist and xenophobic policy that has denied millions their fundamental right to seek asylum and resulted in the inhumane deportations of 1.7 million people fleeing violence and humanitarian crises across the globe.

The full text of her remarks at the presser is available below and full video is available here.

Transcript: Pressley Reaffirms Support for President Biden’s Decision to End Title 42
House Triangle
April 28, 2022

Thank you, everyone for joining us here today as we reiterate our support for President Biden’s repeal of this fundamentally racist, unjust and cruel Title 42 order.

Thank you to our indomitable champion and leader of the CPC, Congresswoman Jayapal, our colleagues and the organizers and our partners here today working day in and day out to affirm the dignity and humanity of our immigrant neighbors.

This unconscionable, racist and xenophobic Trump-era policy was in effect for too long.

It did nothing, but inflict unspeakable hurt and harm on migrants, particularly Black and brown migrants, denying millions their fundamental right to seek asylum.

We’ve heard of thousands of reports of harrowing violence, of murder, of kidnapping, of rape, of torture, against migrants and asylum seekers expelled to Mexico due to Title 42.

This policy was never about keeping anybody safe, period.

This Trump-era policy was always about stoking anti-immigrant fear and hate, and undermining our humanitarian obligations to asylum seekers in this country.

Earlier this month, after years of relentless organizing and mobilizing, President Biden acted decisively, and we applaud the administration for heeding our calls to do away with this harmful policy.

This long-overdue action will save lives and move us closer to a more fair and effective asylum system for all. And again, we commend the administration for its action.

And in case this seems like a Washington fight, as someone representing the third largest concentration of the Haitian diaspora and co-chair of the Haiti Caucus, this is about people.

This is about families.

This is about the ability, quite literally, to live, to survive.

This is about the fundamental human right to flee violence.

Whether you’re fleeing Ukraine or Haiti, our destinies are tied.

And so when we talk about this contrast, really what we are… what we want is equitable outrage, equitable compassion, and an equitable federal policy response.

The impact of these unjust policies, the separated families, the lives lost, the lives forever changed, can be felt deeply across my district, the Massachusetts 7th.

We have a responsibility to change course and lead with compassion.

We have a responsibility to treat asylum as the fundamental human right that it is, and I am pleased that the administration is making progress in rebuilding our asylum process.

It’s long past time that we treat all people with dignity, respect, humanity, and the compassion they deserve.

Again, whether they are fleeing the violence and bloodshed in Ukraine or Haiti, we see you.

We value your life and you deserve the right to seek asylum.

It is the right thing to do. It is the compassionate thing to do. And it is exactly, and I’ll just end on this point.

This is not benevolence or charity. This is a response, a leadership response, that is responsive to the needs of the broad and diverse coalition that elected this president, that delivered him to the White House.

So I stand proudly in solidarity with the organizers and members of Congress, who brought us together today to continue this work.

Earlier this month, Rep. Pressley issued a statement applauding the Biden Administration’s announcement that it would end the Title 42 policy in the coming months.

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.