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7,000+ migrants turned away by the US have been victims of violent attacks since Biden took office

Migrants leave a chartered airplane in El Paso
Migrants arrive on a chartered flight from Brownsville, Texas in El Paso, Texas, U.S. March 17, 2021.

You can read this story in Spanish by clicking here.

According to a report released by Human Rights First, there have been 7,647 cases of violent attacks on people blocked or expelled under Title 42 since President Biden took office. It also states that, in the last month alone, nearly 8,000 Haitians have been illegally expelled to “life-threatening conditions” in Haiti.

Related: Hope And Despair In Del Rio As Biden Administration Begins Expelling Migrants From Massive Border Encampment

Human Rights First’s Associate Director, Kennji Kizuka said the human cost of President Biden continuing to use Title 42 to block asylum seekers is mounting.

“Every day that Title 42 remains in place is another day that someone is being kidnapped, that someone is being torture, that someone is being raped because they’re being turned away from protection from the United States,” Kizuka said.

A U.S. Coast Guard airplane with migrants on board departs the Del Rio International Airport as U.S. authorities accelerate removal of migrants at border with Mexico, in Del Rio
A U.S. Coast Guard airplane with migrants on board departs the Del Rio International Airport as U.S. authorities accelerate removal of migrants at border with Mexico, in Del Rio, Texas, U.S., September 19, 2021. REUTERS/Marco Bello


Immigrant advocates also say the denials and expulsions under the policy are being carried out under the guise of public health. First enacted by the Trump administration at the start of the pandemic, the policy argues that expelling immigrants under U.S. Health Code Title 42 would stop the spread of COVID-19. That claim has been repeatedly debunked by leading public health experts, including President Biden’s chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci.

“When you have 700,000 Americans dead and millions and millions and millions of Americans getting infected, you don’t want to look outside to the problem. The problem is within our own country,” Fauci told CNN Sunday. “Certainly immigrants can get infected, but they’re not the driving force of this — let’s face reality here.”

Texas Public Radio is supported by contributors to the Border and Immigration News Desk, including the Catena Foundation and Texas Mutual Insurance Company.

Despite dropping the ban last week on Mexican and Canadian nationals entering the United States for non-essential travel at the border, the Biden administration continues to use Title 42 to deny asylum to migrants encountered at the border.

Just over a month ago, the federal government’s use of Title 42 to expel migrant families was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge, but it remains in effect as the Biden administration defends it in court.

“Our government is capable,” Kizuka said. "It has the resources to process people humanely and to make sure that they’re safe and able to exercise their right to seek asylum.”

Related: Human rights groups appeal to international panel to end Biden’s Title 42 migrant expulsions

Earlier this month, Human Rights First filed an emergency request with an international human rights panel urging the Biden administration to stop expelling migrants under Title 42 but still awaits response.

“What possible reason is there to turn people back to danger when, at the same time, someone can cross the border into El Paso and go shopping for shoes or cross the border into San Diego and drive up to Disneyland?” Kizuka said. “And, at the same time, asylum seekers are sent back to possibly be killed.”

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Sofía Sánchez can be reached at tpr.sofia@gmail.com and on Twitter at @sofiahanalei