Washington, D.C.—CWS today welcomed reports that the Biden Administration is planning on launching a humanitarian parole program for Venezuelans with U.S. ties seeking safety at ports of entry in the United States. The organization expresses concern, however, by additional reports that White House will be expanding Title 42, an unnecessary and harmful public health policy, that will negatively impact the ability of Cubans, Nicaraguans, Haitians, and Venezuelans without relatives in the United States, to pursue asylum protections. CWS calls on the administration to reconsider this expansion and to honor the spirit of the asylum system by embracing the legal right to seek protections for all, as opposed to a nationality by nationality basis.
“Extending life-saving protections to Venezuelans with ties to the United States is a welcome and necessary step forward by this administration, and should be expanded to additional populations in need,” said Rev. Noel Andersen, Director of Grassroots Organizing at CWS. “However, expanding Title 42, a program that has proven discriminatory and has denied protections to hundreds of thousands under the false pretenses of public health, would be a tragic mistake. The legal right to seek asylum is a cornerstone of our nation, to deny or return individuals to the very danger they are fleeing runs contrary to our own asylum laws, and our moral obligation to humanitarian protection.”
CWS notes that all people seeking safety deserve a chance to seek asylum protection, whether or not they come from a specific country or if they already have family here. The organization calls on the Biden administration to stop responding crisis by crisis, one nationality at a time, with temporary protections and finally commit to upholding the U.S. commitment to the legal and human right to seek asylum.
For more information or to speak with Andersen, contact email@example.com.
Update as of 10/14/2022:
- After negotiations with the Mexican government, The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) formally announced a humanitarian parole program to allow 24,000 Venezuelans into the United States. This parole program is similar to the Uniting for Ukraine (U4U) program, which provides a pathway for Ukrainian citizens and their immediate family members who are outside the United States to stay temporarily in a two-year period of parole. Participants must have a supporter in the United States who agrees to provide them with financial support for the duration of their stay. As with the U4U program, CWS is a leading coordinator in making such connections for arriving Venezuelans.
- CWS notes that there are obvious inequities with this program that will harm Venezuelans fleeing violence. Specifically, the parole program could only be used if a person in the United States is able to sponsor them and travel by air. Many may be barred from accessing this parole program should they travel by land to the U.S. southern border.
- Additionally, Venezuelans cannot access this program if they are a permanent resident or dual national of any country other than Venezuela, or currently hold refugee status in any country. This is NOT the rule under Uniting for Ukraine and seems very discriminatory.
- Lastly, with President Biden declaring the end of the Pandemic, expanding Title 42 is deplorable and discriminatory.