Bethany Christian Services Shares the Biden Administration’s Humanitarian Concerns about the Southern Border, but Urges it to Reconsider Expansion of Title 42 as Part of the Solution

January 06, 2023

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Bethany Christian Services shares the Biden administration’s concerns about the humanitarian situation currently at the southern Border as announced by Biden himself yesterday, but urges the administration to reconsider the expansion of Title 42 as part of the solution. As a result of yesterday’s announcement, people from Haiti, Cuba, and Nicaragua, along with Venezuelans will now be barred from seeking asylum at the U.S. Southern Border, and will face stiff penalties if they try to seek refuge and safety at the border.

“The new plan will create parole eligibility for individuals from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua – but has narrow economic and social requirements for eligibility. These new changes rely on Title 42 legal authority, a policy that usurps longstanding U.S. immigration law that ensures asylum seekers' rights to due process,” said Liz van Zyl, Vice President of Government Relations at Bethany.

Bethany has long opposed Title 42, which went into effect in 2020 and prohibits asylum seekers from entering the United States due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Bethany welcomes the expansion of lawful pathways for entry for individuals facing humanitarian risks, but is deeply saddened at the decision to expand Title 42 – a harmful and inhumane policy to include people from Haiti, Cuba, and Nicaragua. While this new program will enable certain people to apply for parole to the U.S., the program doesn’t account for the most vulnerable who are seeking safety and will hurt those who have already traveled thousands of miles to do so,” said Dr. Tawnya Brown, Senior Vice President of Global, Refugee, and Immigrant Services at Bethany. “Today’s expansion of Title 42 through this new narrow eligibility process keeps asylum seekers and parolees in limbo, as it provides mere temporary protection, and will hinder the most vulnerable from accessing safety in the U.S. because of new, difficult to meet economic and social eligibility requirements. We believe new pathways should complement the option for asylum seekers who are not able to avail themselves to the parole program to be able to access their legal right to seek asylum at the southern border. We urge the Biden administration to urgently work with Congress to prioritize passing comprehensive, bipartisan immigration reform that will create equitable and permanent solutions for vulnerable migrants fleeing persecution and seeking to build a new life in our country and strongly urge the administration to reconsider their decision to expand Title 42.”