Church World Service Responds to End of Title 42, Asylum Ban Reinstatement

May 10, 2023

Washington D.C.—CWS today expressed its alarm following an announcement from the Biden administration reinstating a version of a Trump-era asylum ban, which would require many of those seeking protection in the United States to first be denied asylum in another country before being allowed to apply through the U.S. asylum system. The ban is set to go into effect the same day as the official end of Title 42—a cruel and unlawful policy that returned over 2.5 million asylum seekers to the very danger from which they fled without due process or the opportunity to legally seek protection. CWS calls for the administration to immediately change course and embrace immigration policies rooted in compassion and humanity that honor our nation’s long-standing tradition of welcoming the stranger.

“The long-awaited end of Title 42 should be a cause for celebration and relief; and we welcome the end of a policy that was based in cruelty and persecution. However, the immediate implementation of an asylum ban on the same day it is set to end represents an unwillingness to move away from punitive, fear-based border policy and towards humane solutions that would effectively and compassionately manage the border.” said Danilo Zak, Associate Director of Policy And Advocacy. “This ban and other proposed border policy changes will place further restrictions on asylum, while increasing detention, deportation, and militarization at the border. It will embrace disorder, returning at-risk migrants to danger, and do nothing to address the challenges we face. With every step forward, the Biden administration is choosing to immediately take two steps back; the legacy being created is one of negligence and harm. One that directly undermines the values of so many Americans.”

Put into place under the Trump administration, Title 42 was continued under the Biden White House, despite a pledge to return to more welcoming border policies and numerous calls from humanitarian groups and faith communities to end the harmful policy. As a policy, Title 42 was unique in its cruelty, and while CWS welcomes its end, policies like it and today’s asylum ban are a natural evolution of the inhumane, deterrence based approaches that have marginalized those seeking safety for some time. The politics of exclusion create a cycle of reactive, punitive policies that dehumanize migrants and erode legal protections for asylum seekers. The organization calls on the administration and Congress to reject policies sowed in chaos, discord, and harm, and instead embrace solutions that honor the personhood of those seeking safety. 

CWS continues to support and advocate for investing in shelter networks, establishing community-based case management programs that provide vital services, and strengthening access to safe and permanent pathways to enter the United States—while recognizing that those paths will never and should never replace the legally protected right to seek asylum at the border. 

For more information or to speak with Zak, contact