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Congresswoman Judy Chu, Feb. 14, 2022
"In response to the continued use of Title 42 to expel asylum seekers at the border, Reps. Judy Chu (CA-27), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), and Nydia Velázquez (NY-07) led 33 other House Democrats on a letter to Rochelle Walensky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, demanding answers about the agency’s justification for treating asylum seekers as a unique public health threat, how these expulsions are being coordinated, how asylum seekers being returned to dangerous situations are being cared for, and more. ... DHS’s enforcement of Title 42 and its neglect of recommended public health measures, including testing of unaccompanied minors, single adults, and family units, only amplifies risks to public health. Additionally, dependence on expulsion strategies not only “heightens the risk of COVID-19 transmission across national borders” but also perpetuates racially based tropes presenting migrants as vectors of disease. ... [T]he order was initially adopted over the objection of CDC’s career officials and the consensus among epidemiologists and other public health experts that the ongoing policy serves no sound public health purpose. Moreover, the government’s application of COVID-19 restrictions to different categories of immigrants is arbitrary, suggesting that deterring and expelling asylum seekers is the primary governmental concern, not public health. While our borders are currently open to vaccinated travelers, the government continues to deny even vaccinated asylum seekers the legitimate right to seek protection. ... Considering the negative impact of Title 42 to public health and asylum seekers, we call on the CDC to immediately reverse course and discontinue the application of Title 42 expulsions along the US-Mexico border. For nearly two years now, the CDC has made various determinations on the continued application of Title 42 with very little transparency into the factors that justify this inhumane policy. Therefore, we request a response to the following questions in a timely manner...."