Monday marks two years since Title 42, a policy allowing for the denial of asylum seekers in the interest of public health, has been implemented at the U.S. border as a means to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Immigration advocates say exceptions have been made for Ukrainian and Russian asylum seekers since the start of the war that weren't made for Latin American migrants throughout the pandemic. They staged a rally at the San Ysidro Port of Entry Monday calling for the end of the policy reintroduced in March 2020 under the Trump administration.
"We’re open for commerce, we’re open for business, but we’re denying migrants," Dulce Garcia said at the rally. "We’re telling migrants they are not allowed to come in because of the pandemic."
Earlier this month, Title 42 was dropped for unaccompanied child migrants following new guidance from the CDC. The agency said the group no longer posed a risk to public health.
"The Biden administration has done a poor job. They have failed to get us to a place where we can implement a safe and orderly system. The first thing they need to do is reopen," said Lindsay Toczylowski, founder of Immigrant Defenders Law Center.
Toczylowski said her group represents more than a thousand unaccompanied children trying to seek asylum in California. They also provide legal services for families waiting for their chance.
"Everyone has been locked out of the asylum system with very few exceptions being made," said Toczylowski.
For now, the Biden administration says Title 42 will remain in place until the CDC determines asylum seekers don't pose a public health concern related to COVID-19.