Monday, March 04, 2024|
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Over the past few days, migrants fleeing the war in Ukraine have made their way to northern Mexico and been waved through the U.S. southern border, putting an end to a short but harrowing journey to seek safety in a foreign land. Yards away, equally desperate travelers from Central and South America, Haiti, Cameroon and elsewhere watched as the Ukrainians were afforded the very same opportunity they’d waited months for.
Little better illustrates the absurdity of Title 42, a supposed COVID-19 response measure that, starting with President Donald Trump and continuing with President Joe Biden, has allowed the federal government to expel would-be asylum-seekers without due process more than 1.7 million times.
Countless public health experts, including former CDC officials, have testified to its uselessness at combating virus spread. It’s always been a political tool to restrict access to asylum, which is why news that the administration is considering a May 23 wind-down of the policy comes as a return to sanity.
It won’t be a smooth process. Thousands have waited in the border area for months to access their legal right to asylum, and news that the restriction is being scrapped is certain to prompt many more to make the trek. Some administration officials fear a potential doubling or more of daily arrivals, up to 12,000 to 18,000 in the aftermath of the policy’s termination. This is a real problem, and the administration must preemptively set up the logistical groundwork to hear their claims, turning back those with meritless claims and processing legitimate asylum-seekers.
It must not let the aftermath descend into chaos; that would be an additional injustice to those who’ve already waited so long for the orderly humanitarian process that they’re guaranteed, and a perfectly wrapped gift to Republicans hungering to point to dysfunction ahead of the midterms. Biden officials should also understand that GOP commentators will call his an open-borders administration no matter what, and cannot take the bait with a gratuitously heavy-handed approach.
— New York Daily News
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