RESTORING ASYLUM AT THE U.S.-MEXICO BORDER MUST INCLUDE DISMANTLING OUTDATED TITLE 42
Jesus is present with the asylum seeker, the refugee and the newcomer, and Christians are called to model Christ’s compassion and love. ELCA ministries and advocacy have long recognized the struggles and rights of migrants and people in need of the compassionate haven of a new home.
Seeking asylum is a right enshrined in U.S. law and protected by international treaty obligations, as named in this notice by the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees, yet access in recent years has been continually and systematically blocked for all but a few. If Congress fails to act, that right may be restricted indefinitely as multiple attempts to extend Title 42, the pandemic-era public health order, wind their way through Congress.
Hundreds of migrants have continued to seek protection through the U.S. asylum system. Getting to the United States to make this claim is no easy feat, and many have traveled thousands of miles by foot through nearly unpassable and dangerous terrain, going without protection from the elements and assuming extreme personal risks.
“If nobody talks about that experience with Title 42, no one will know,” relayed a Haitian asylum-seeking father of his separation from his pregnant wife and children described during an Interfaith Immigration Coalition (IIC) webinar in July 2022. Hundreds have experienced the “nightmarish” impacts of Title 42. There have been over 2.1 million forced expulsions of migrants at the southwest border since March 2020. Many people have attempted to cross multiple times as a result of Title 42, inflating the number of monthly encounters and impacting border personnel’s missions in other areas.
Taking action has taken on new urgency alongside partners, like the Interfaith Immigration Coalition (IIC) and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, such as during the IIC’s “Heal Not Harm” Weeks of Action.
The ELCA “Immigration” social message notes: “Our advocacy needs to take into account the complexity of issues, the diversity of interests, and the partial or relative justice of laws at the same time that it counters appeals rooted in hostility, racism, prejudice, indifference, and simplistic solutions” (pg. 6). Solutions must involve addressing forced displacement from a regional and global perspective; adopting and implementing holistic and human-rights based approaches to migration with an emphasis on safe, orderly and regular pathways to migrate; and supporting complimentary protection mechanisms for people displaced due to reasons like the climate crisis. Broad immigration reform would be far more impactful, especially in the long run, than deterrence.
Help the United States continue to hold forth safety and hope for the displaced by upholding the right to asylum and ending Title 42.
Use the form below to send your message to the White House calling for a reparations study commission. Please customize with your local, faith-informed experience and perspective.