Act to Restore Asylum

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Last month, we learned about the tragic loss of 53 lives in San Antonio. Migrants were trapped in the back of a truck: parents, children, siblings, human beings who were desperate for an opportunity to find and create a better life for themselves and their loved ones. As the Somali poet Warsan Shire reminds us in her poem “Home,”

“no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck

feeding on newspaper unless the miles traveled

means something more than journey.”

Leaders on both sides of the aisle continue to use fear, scarcity, and bigotry to shape critical asylum policies. As people of faith, we know another way is not only possible but essential. Not every tragedy caused by injustice makes national news, but each matter because their lives and their communities matter. We know that these deaths could have been prevented if our asylum policies were designed to heal, not harm, seekers of safety & community. We need to tell our leaders that each day that we continue with Title 42 is a moral failure.

Join Love Resists for the Interfaith #HealNotHarm Days of Actio to restore asylum next week!

Months after most COVID-19 public health restrictions in the US have been lifted, our government is still using the pandemic as justification for refusing, detaining, and expelling asylum-seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border. Under the CDC’s Title 42 program, almost all asylum-seeking families and individuals are being denied their human and legal right to seek safety. The CDC has already acted to revoke Title 42 because it is not contributing to public health, but a conservative judge has kept it in place through a legal battle. Now, anti-immigrant political leaders want to ensure Title 42 continues to control migration and restrict asylum at the border, and are pushing amendments on Title 42 through Congress.

Join Side with Love, UUSC, and the Interfaith Immigration Coalition for our #HealNotHarm Teach-In on Monday, July 18 at 4:00 PM

Many migrants have died from being denied access to asylum at the border where ports of entry have remained closed more than two years ago. Like most efforts historically to control cross-border migration, Title 42 does not deter those seeking safety in the US, but pushes them into more dangerous circumstances while trying to get here. The reality is that the horrific tragedy of 53 lives lost while migrants were trapped in the back of a tractor trailer in San Antonio, TX, is only the most visible tip of the iceberg. Thousands of people stuck in dangerous border cities in Mexico have been kidnapped, sexually assaulted, and forced into labor, while others have died from lack of medical care. Black asylum-seekers, especially Haitians, have been disproportionately impacted by Title 42. There is no way of tracking how many others have lost their lives after being forcibly expelled back to dangerous conditions in their countries of origin without screening for whether they feared for their lives if returned.

It is simply untrue that US Customs & Border Protection (CBP) does not have the capacity to process asylum-seekers in a safe and orderly manner at the border. We have seen how it is possible when the political will is there, such as when Ukranians were exempted from Title 42.

The courts are already preventing the end of Title 42, and now Members of Congress are trying to make this deadly policy permanent by attaching amendments to maintain Title 42 into as many bills as they can manage, including critical budget bills. So far, in the House, both the Labor and Health and Human Services and the Homeland Security budget drafts include an extension of Title 42 until 60 days after the pandemic is declared over. Additionally, a desperately needed COVID relief bill is being held up in part due to conflicts about including Title 42. We cannot meet the very real needs of our communities impacted by COVID by denying asylum-seekers their lives and safety!

Will you join me and other people of faith committed to restoring asylum at our #HealNotHarm Teach-in on July 18 at 4:00 PM? Together we will learn about the many tactics we can take to bring an end to Title 42 and begin to move towards life-affirming asylum policies in the US. And we’ll prepare to participate in our own UU-sponsored National Call-in Day to demand an end to Title 42 on July 19!

As people of faith, we know that another world is possible, and together, it is ours to create. Bringing an end to Title 42 is one of the many necessary steps towards creating a world that no longer inflicts deadly harm, but offers liberatory healing and welcome to all.

In faith & justice,

Rev. Ranwa Hammamy,

Congregational Justice Organizer