205 Civil & Human Rights Organizations Support the End of Title 42

View PDF of letter here.

April 26, 2022

Dear Senator,

On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of more than 230 national organizations committed to promoting and protecting civil and human rights, and the undersigned 205 civil and human rights organizations, we write to encourage your support of the Biden administration’s plans to end Title 42 on May 23, 2022.[1] We urge you to reject any and all legislative efforts to extend Title 42 beyond May 23, 2022, including the Public Health and Border Security Act of 2022 (S.4036) and potential amendments to the COVID-19 relief bill. Ending Title 42 is an urgent racial justice, human rights, and civil rights issue, and we encourage you to work in tandem with the Biden administration to change course now.

Keeping Title 42 in place affects not only immigrant communities, but the country at large. For more than two years, Title 42 has rendered our Southern border and ports of entry virtually closed to asylum seekers and refugees. The prolonged use of Title 42 has betrayed our country’s commitment to the international human rights principle of non-refoulement,[2] to our domestic laws governing the right to seek asylum, and to our professed role as a beacon and leader in advancing civil and human rights worldwide. Title 42 represents both a purposeful abandonment of our shared legal and moral principles and a myopic unwillingness to right the wrongs of the last administration. Immigrants continue to make up 1 in 5 essential workers, 1 in 5 health care workers, and 1 in 4 long-term care workers, serving in all of the industries deemed “essential” during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.[3] Title 42’s prolonged use over the past two years is an odious stain on the Biden administration’s still-unfolding legacy. Should Title 42 continue indefinitely, it will spell the virtual end of U.S. asylum and should serve as a dire harbinger of continued civil and human rights rollbacks to come. Such purposeful regression, if met with little to no resistance, will harm not only immigrant communities but all those concerned with the fate of our country.

Use of Title 42 to prevent people fleeing persecution from applying for asylum is a perverse misuse of a public health law. It is not surprising that Title 42 has failed to protect public health or stem the tide of COVID-19 in the U.S., and has not reduced the surges emerging variants have caused. There is no evidence that Title 42 will protect the country from future variants and surges. Epidemiologists,[4] former CDC officials,[5] and public health experts[6] have denounced the junk science[7] underlying the use of Title 42 since its authorization in 2020. The CDC itself now formally agrees that Title 42 does not provide a public health benefit. Furthermore, Title 42 has reinforced ugly, racialized stereotypes about immigrants and the propensity for disease. Recent characterizations of Title 42 as a border management tool belie any reasoning based on science or public health and confirm that it has been used as an immigration policy, not a public health policy. Indeed, the March 11, 2022 memo[8] to Customs and Border Protection officers authorizing an exemption from expulsion under Title 42 solely for Ukrainian nationals demonstrates the flimsiness of any purported public health justification. Such exemptions, narrowly applied, appear inequitable on their face and seem to support allegations that U.S. compassion for asylum seekers and refugees is heavily influenced by race, ethnicity, and nationality. In the end, misuse of a public health law in this way to circumvent due process at the border further undermines the credibility of public health institutions that are already under attack by movements with an anti-science agenda.

Efforts to tie the use of Title 42 to the COVID-related Public Health Emergency will harm both immigrants and the most vulnerable U.S. citizens. The key to ending the pandemic is increasing access to vaccines and preventative measures, not continuing anti-immigrant policies like Title 42. Some in Congress are seeking to reduce or block entirely funding to fight COVID-19, while others proposed tying the continuation of Title 42 to the Surgeon General’s authority to declare or end a Public Health Emergency (PHE). Proposals that would prevent the administration from ending the use of Title 42 unless the PHE is also ended are misguided and dangerous, and put undue pressure on officials to lift the PHE prematurely to restore access to asylum. Ending the recently-renewed PHE is expected to result in over 12 million Medicaid beneficiaries losing coverage, along with countless consequences for COVID-19 related programs that serve all Americans. PHEs have a particular purpose: to create flexibility and certainty so the health care system can meet our country’s health needs. Especially given that doctors, hospitals, community health centers, and other providers face a sudden lapse of resources to fight the pandemic, it is not time to further tie the hands of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Title 42 has exposed asylum seekers to chaos and violence, and has exposed Black asylum seekers to disproportionate, anti-Black harms. Title 42 has not deterred asylum seekers and refugees from traveling to the Southern border — it has, instead, increased[9] the number of desperate people fleeing danger who quickly attempt re-entry, because access to safety has been blocked and asylum claims are not being heard. Neither Title 42, nor any other dubious policy of its kind, can deter people who seek protection from persecution. Title 42 has exposed asylum seekers to violence after expulsion — with almost 10,000 reports[10] of kidnapping, rape, assault, torture, and more. Furthermore, Title 42 has had an outsized negative impact on hyper-visible Black asylum seekers from Africa and the Caribbean[11] in particular, including (but not limited to) mass deportations and gruesome violence against Haitian migrants by Customs and Border Protection officials. The Leadership Conference and allied organizations decried[12] this anti-Black violence against Haitian and other Black asylum seekers in Del Rio, Texas last September, and we do so again today. To emphasize the scale of the harm Title 42 has wrought, consider this statistic: the U.S. government has conducted nearly 2 million expulsions in the past two years.[13] With every day that Title 42 remains in place, an ever-growing number of asylum seekers are experiencing heinous harms that alter their lives forever. Seeking to extend this policy sanctions such harms both theoretically and in reality.

Our nation is fully capable of addressing the potential increase in migrants at the Southern border, but it must adopt a welcoming approach that treats all migrants with the dignity they deserve. Ending Title 42 will not automatically lead to chaos at the border. Indeed, the removal of Title 42 is a return to regular order: Asylum claims will once again be processed and heard as authorized by U.S. law. The Biden administration has announced a comprehensive, whole-of-government plan[14] to address potential increases in asylum seekers and refugees at the border, including surging personnel to the area, providing COVID-19 vaccines to those in custody, and reducing crowding in holding facilities. The expected short-term increase in arrivals is smaller than other increases in migration in our country’s history, and far smaller than the numbers of migrants that other nations have been able to welcome and process. Chaotic conditions at the border are not a result of “surges”, but rather of misguided approaches to enforcement.  The transition to an orderly system at the border depends on the adoption of more humane and welcoming policies, and will only be made more difficult if Congress or the Biden administration adopts a punitive, enforcement-only approach. In the post-Title 42 world, the U.S. must welcome asylum seekers with dignity. We urge Members of Congress, instead of pursuing avenues to extend Title 42, to work with the Biden administration to enhance and improve these plans in meaningful ways, and to encourage the Biden administration to reject an enforcement-only approach to managing the Southern border, which would have disastrous, disorderly results.

Conclusion. The misuse of Title 42 is one of the most urgent civil and human rights issues of our day, and we urge you to stand with immigrants and welcome all with dignity. All Members of Congress should reject legislative efforts to extend Title 42 or continue tying this wholesale policy failure to the essential public health funding needed to end the pandemic. Congress must take a step in the right direction to establish a humane asylum system.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Breanne Palmer, Immigration Policy Counsel, at [email protected].


The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights


Advocating Opportunity


African American Ministers In Action

African Communities Together

Al Otro Lado

Alianza Americas

America’s Voice

American Civil Liberties Union

American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)

American Gateways

American Humanist Association

American Immigration Lawyers Association

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)

Americans for Democratic Action (ADA)

Andrew Goodman Foundation

Anti-Defamation League

Arizona Justice For Our Neighbors

Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF)

Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF)

Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC

Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago

Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Los Angeles


Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO)

Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP)



Austin Border Relief

Autistic Self Advocacy Network

Beacon Presbyterian Fellowship

Bend the Arc: Jewish Action

Bridges Faith Initiative

Bridges Faith Initiative

Brooklyn Defender Services

Buen Vecino

California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice

Cameroon Advocacy Network

Catholic Charities of SW Kansas

Center for Disability Rights

Center for Gender & Refugee Studies

Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)

Center for Popular Democracy (CPD)

Center for Victims of Torture

Central American Resource Center

Central American Resource Center of Northern California – CARECEN SF

Centro Legal de la Raza

Chinese Mutual Aid Association

Christian Reformed Church Office of Social Justice

Church World Service

Clearinghouse on Women’s Issues

Cleveland Jobs with Justice

Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA)

Coalition on Human Needs

Columbia Law School Immigrants’ Rights Clinic

Community Change Action

Comunidad Maya ​Pixan Ixim

Cooperative Baptist Fellowship

Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF)

Disciples Immigration Legal Counsel

Disciples Refugee & Immigration Ministries

Doctors for Camp Closure

Envision Freedom Fund

Equality California

Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project

Esperanza United (Formerly Casa de Esperanza National Latin@ Network)

Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM)

Faith-Immanuel Lutheran Church

Faith in Public Life

Families for Freedom

Farmworker Justice

Fellowship Southwest

Feminist Majority Foundation

Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project

Florida Immigrant Coalition

Forging Opportunities for Refugees in America

Free Migration Project

Freedom Network USA

Garcia & Anderson, LLP

Government Accountability Project

Growing Together

Haitian Bridge Alliance

Her Justice, Inc.

HIAS Pennsylvania

Hispanic Economic Development Corporation

Hispanic Federation

Hope Border Institute

Human Impact Partners

Human Rights Campaign

Human Rights First

Human Rights Initiative of North Texas

Human Rights Observation/Honduras

Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights

Immaculate Heart Community Commission on Justice for Immigrants and Refugees

Immigrant Defenders Law Center

Immigrant Legal Resource Center

Immigration Center for Women and Children

Immigration Equality Action Fund

Immigration Hub

Impact Fund


Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti

Instituto de Educacion Popular del Sur de California

Inter-Faith Committee on Latin America

International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP)

InterReligious Task Force on Central America

Japanese American Citizens League

Jewish Activists for Immigration Justice Western MA

Jewish Voice for Peace, Atlanta Chapter

Justice Action Center

Justice for Our Neighbors El Paso

Justice in Motion

Kids in Need of Defense

Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA)

Lambda Legal

Latin Advocacy Network (LATINAN)

Latin America Working Group (LAWG)

Latino Outreach Committee for the Maricopa County Democratic Party

Lawyers for Good Government (L4GG)

Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)

League of Women Voters of the United States

Legal Aid at Work

Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition

Louisiana Advocates for Immigrants in Detention

Maryland Against ICE Detention

Michigan Immigrant Rights Center

Mississippi Center for Justice


Muslim Advocates

NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF)

NARAL Pro-Choice America

National Action Network (NAN)

National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders (NALCAB)

National Center for Parent Leadership, Advocacy, & Community Empowerment (National PLACE)

National Center for Transgender Equality

National Council of Churches

National Council of Jewish Women

National Council on Independent Living

National Education Association

National Employment Law Project

National Immigrant Justice Center

National Immigration Law Center

National Immigration Project (NIPNLG)

National Partnership for New Americans

National Urban League

NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice

New Mexico Immigrant Law Center

New York Immigration Coalition


Northwest Immigrant Rights Project

Orlando Center for Justice

Oxfam America

Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans (PANA)

PFLAG National

Physicians for Human Rights


Project Lifeline

Project On Government Oversight

Public Counsel

Public Law Center

Puentes de Cristo, a Presbyterian Border Ministry

Quixote Center

Rabbinical Assembly


Rainbow Bridge Asylum Seekers

Refugee Congress

Refugees International


Respond Crisis Translation

Revolutionary Love Project

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights

Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network

Save the Children

Service Employees International Union (SEIU)

Silver State Equality

Sisters and Brothers of Immigrants

Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Justice Team

Sisters of St. Dominic of Blauvelt, New York

Sanctuary DMV


Southern Border Communities Coalition

Southern Poverty Law Center

Student Clinic for Immigrant Justice

T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights

Tahirih Justice Center

The Advocates for Human Rights

The Workers Circle

The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights

U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI)

UCSF Health and Human Rights Initiative

UndocuBlack Network

Union for Reform Judaism

Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

United Stateless

UNWLA National

Vecindarios 901

Voice for Refuge Action Fund

Wallingford Indivisible

Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)

Wayne Action for Racial Equality

Wilco Justice Alliance (Williamson County, TX)

Win Without War

Witness at the Border

Women’s Refugee Commission



Susan Rice, Director, White House Domestic Policy Council

Cedric Richmond, Senior Advisor and Director, White House Office of Public Engagement

[1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Public Health Determination and Termination of Title 42 Order (April 1, 2022), https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2022/s0401-title-42.html.

[2] United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees, The principle of non-refoulement under international human rights law, https://www.ohchr.org/sites/default/files/Documents/Issues/Migration/GlobalCompactMigration/ThePrincipleNon-RefoulementUnderInternationalHumanRightsLaw.pdf.

[3] Migration Policy Institute, Immigrant Workers: Vital to the U.S. COVID-19 Response, Disproportionately Vulnerable (April 2020) https://www.migrationpolicy.org/sites/default/files/publications/COVID-19-EssentialWorkers-FS_Final.pdf; U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Advisory Memorandum on Ensuring Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers’ Ability to Work During the COVID-19 Response (August 10, 2021) https://www.cisa.gov/sites/default/files/publications/essential_critical_infrastructure_workforce-guidance_v4.1_508.pdf.

[4] Columbia University Program on Forced Migration and Health, Epidemiologists and Public Health Experts Reiterate Urgent Call to End Title 42 (January 14, 2022), https://www.publichealth.columbia.edu/research/program-forced-migration-and-health/epidemiologists-and-public-health-experts-reiterate-urgent-call-end-title-42.

[5] CBS News, Top CDC official told Congress migrant expulsion policy was not needed to contain COVID (November 12, 2021), https://www.cbsnews.com/news/cdc-official-told-congress-migrant-expulsion-policy-not-needed-to-contain-covid/.

[6] Physicians for Human Rights, Neither Safety nor Health: How Title 42 Expulsions Harm Health and Violate Rights (July 28, 2021), https://phr.org/our-work/resources/neither-safety-nor-health/.

[7] Physicians for Human Rights, 1,300+ Medical Professionals from 49 U.S. States and Territories Call on CDC to End “Junk Science” Border Expulsion Policy (October 28, 2021), https://phr.org/our-work/resources/u-s-medical-professionals-demand-cdc-end-title-42/.

[8] U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Title 42 Exceptions for Ukrainian Nationals (March 11, 2022), https://drive.google.com/file/d/1glEe8MnsNWR15BsfQtiaSR75yKBrCuqe/view.

[9] American Immigration Council, Rising Border Encounters in 2021: An Overview and Analysis (March 4, 2022), https://www.americanimmigrationcouncil.org/rising-border-encounters-in-2021.

[10] Human Rights First, Two Years of Suffering: Biden Administration Continues Use of Discredited Title 42 Order to Flout Refugee Law (March 17, 2022), https://www.humanrightsfirst.org/resource/two-years-suffering-biden-administration-continues-use-discredited-title-42-order-flout.

[11] Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights and Haitian Bridge Alliance, Beyond the Bridge: Documented HUman Rights Abuses and Civil Rights Violations Against Haitian Migrants in the Del Rio, Texas Encampment (2022), https://rfkhr.imgix.net/asset/Del-Rio-Report.pdf.  The Quixote Center and Haitian Bridge Alliance, The Invisible Wall: Title 42 and its Impact on Haitian Migrants (2021) https://www.quixote.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/The-Invisible-Wall.pdf.

[12] The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Biden Must Pause Deportation of Haitians, Respect Due Process (September 24, 2021), https://civilrights.org/2021/09/24/biden-must-pause-deportation-of-haitians-respect-due-process/.

[13] U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Nationwide Enforcement Encounters: Title 8 Enforcement Actions and Title 42 Expulsions 2022 (last modified April 8, 2022) https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/stats/cbp-enforcement-statistics/title-8-and-title-42-statistics.

[14] U.S. Department of Homeland Security, FACT SHEET: DHS Preparations for a Potential Increase in Migration (March 30, 2022), https://www.dhs.gov/news/2022/03/30/fact-sheet-dhs-preparations-potential-increase-migration.