January 26, 2023

Warren and Nearly 80 Lawmakers Push Back Against Expansion of Title 42 and Proposed Asylum Transit Ban

Lawmakers: Immigration Actions Should Not Come at Expense of Fulfilling Commitment to Restore and Protect Rights of Asylum Seekers and Refugees

Text of Letter (PDF)

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) joined Senators Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), U.S. Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Greg Casar (D-Texas), and Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), and nearly 70 other lawmakers in a letter urging President Joe Biden to reverse his administration’s expansion of the inhumane Trump-era border policy known as Title 42 and to abandon the proposed asylum “transit ban” rule. The lawmakers also encouraged the President and his administration to work with Congress to ensure they develop safe, humane, and orderly border policies that enforce our immigration laws and uphold the right to asylum under domestic and international law.

“The administration’s announced border enforcement actions circumvent [domestic and international] law by not only expanding Title 42 beyond what is required by any court but by further implementing policies to deter and penalize people exercising their legal right to seek asylum at the border,” wrote the lawmakers. “We are therefore distressed by the deeply inconsistent choice to expand restrictions on asylum seekers after your administration determined it was no longer necessary for public health.” 

The lawmakers expressed concern about the Biden administration’s announcement that it would require asylum seekers to apply for asylum in a transit country instead of at the southern border – in effect, a transit ban. 

“It is unconscionable that asylum seekers have no option but to sleep in the streets of El Paso, in overcrowded shelters in Juarez, or in tents in Reynosa, but new asylum restrictions against migrants will not solve this problem. We believe that your administration can and must continue to expand legal pathways for migrants and refugees into the United States – without further dismantling the right to seek asylum at our border… We are ready to work with you to ensure that we can have a safe, humane, and orderly border that upholds the right to asylum,” concluded the lawmakers. 

Senator Warren has led ongoing efforts to protect the rights of migrants and asylum seekers and hold the United States accountable to its humanitarian obligations. 

  • Last month, Senator Warren joined a letter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and Immigration and Customs Enforcement expressing concern over the treatment of Black migrants, including shackling pregnant and postpartum people, in federal custody. 
  • In November 2022, Senator Warren led her colleagues in a letter to CBP and CBP Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) raising concerns about the final report released by CBP OPR regarding the treatment of Haitian migrants in Del Rio, Texas .
  • In September 2022,  Senator Warren led members of the Massachusetts delegation in a letter to DHS and the Federal Emergency Management Agency calling for funding from the Emergency Food and Shelter Program to be allocated swiftly to organizations assisting newly arrived migrants in Massachusetts. 
  • Also in September 2022, Senator Warren released a statement condemning efforts to use asylum seekers as political pawns and committing to assisting communities in need. 
  • In April 2022, Senator Warren and her colleagues sent a private inquiry to CBP requesting information on CBP OPR’s’s progress in their investigation of the events that occurred in Del Rio, Texas. 
  • In February 2022, Senators Warren and Booker, Representative Cori Bush (D-Mo.), and 99 of their Congressional colleagues sent a letter to President Biden, urging him to reverse inhumane immigration policies which often disproportionately harm Black migrants, such as Title 42.
  • In November 2021, Senator Warren stated her opposition to the continued use of the Title 42 program and called for the Biden administration to rescind this policy.
  • In October 2021, Senator Warren joined Senator Menendez in criticizing the inhumane treatment of Haitian migrants and called on the administration to support long-term stability in Haiti.  
  • In October 2021, during his confirmation hearing to be CBP Commissioner, Senator Warren called for Commissioner Chris Magnus to commit to transparency regarding the investigation into the events in Del Rio, Texas.