More than 1,300 medical professionals are demanding that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention repeal Title 42, which was used to recently expel some 7,000 Haitian asylum seekers from the United States. File Photo by Abraham Pineda-jacome/EPA-EFE
Oct. 29 (UPI) -- More than 1,300 medical professionals have demanded the Biden administration end its policy to bar migrants and asylum seekers entrance to the United States amid the COVID-19 pandemic, saying it systematically endangers lives.
The 1,383 doctors, nurses and other health professionals nationwide signed a letter sent Thursday to Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, demanding she end her department's Title 42 order as it "lacks epidemiological evidence" and has "no basis in public health best practice."
Title 42 was first imposed in March of last year by then-President Donald Trump, and was extended by President Joe Biden in August to criticism from immigration advocates.
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data, Title 42 has resulted in the expulsion of more than 1 million people in the last 12 months.
The letter sent Thursday by the Physicians for Human Rights nonprofit organization is its largest mobilization yet against the order.
"Instead of 'following the science,' with Title 42, the Biden administration is twisting the facts and subjecting asylum seekers to grave dangers," Alejandro Moreno of the University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School said in a statement. "With today's letters, the medical community is standing up to tell the CDC to stop invoking our profession to advance xenophobic immigration policy. The Title 42 order is junk science with no grounding in evidence and flies in the face of public health, U.S. and international law and common decency."
The letter was sent a week after U.S.-based international nonprofit Human Rights First published a report documenting at least 7,647 kidnappings and other attacks committed against people blocked or expelled from the United States under Title 42.
The order was also used recently to expel the more than 7,000 Haitian asylum seekers.
"With new cases, hospitalizations and deaths trending down in much of the United States and highly effective tools like vaccines at our disposal, it has become crystal clear that the Biden administration is misusing an antiquated public health order to enact a callous immigration agenda, not to stem COVID-19," said Paul Spiegel, director of the Center for Humanitarian Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
When the CDC extended the order in early August, the Department of Homeland Security explained that while they continue to expel people under it, "the Biden-Harris administration continues to work to build a fair, orderly and humane immigration system."