Title 42 was a policy implemented by the Trump administration to prevent the spread of COVID-19 from migrants entering into the United States. Despite the criticism and legal challenges, the Biden administration continued the use of Title 42, citing concerns for public health. The policy has raised many issues, including human rights violations and the separation of families seeking safety and refuge. As the world continues to navigate the pandemic, today, May 11 marks the expiration of Title 42, a Trump-era policy that has had devastating impacts on migrants across the Americas and especially in the United States.
The implementation of Title 42 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on Black migrants in the Americas and the US.
Under this public health law, over two million asylum seekers have been expelled to their countries of origin, regardless of the dangerous and unstable conditions they face. This policy has had devastating effects on Black migrants, who often flee poverty, violence, and persecution in their home countries. The US government's use of Title 42 has been criticized for violating international law obligations to protect refugees, as well as for perpetuating racial discrimination and xenophobia. As we continue to navigate the pandemic and its aftermath, it is crucial to examine and address the human rights consequences of policies like Title 42.
Throughout the history of the United States, Black migrants have faced a long and painful history of discrimination and racism, known as antiblackness. Black migrants often come to the United States out of economic desperation as a result of economic policies imposed on nations in the global South by the economically powerful nations of the U.S. and Western Europe, the same economic policies that push them out of their ancestral lands, only to be met with systemic barriers and deep-rooted prejudice against their existence. From US-sanctioned racist policies, Black migrants have always faced a relentless uphill battle against the forces of discrimination. Despite the hardships they have experienced, Black migrants, alongside other Black communities have continued to fight for their rights and for a more equitable society.
What are we tasked with to uphold the Human Rights of Black Migrants Now and In the Future
As we approach a critical juncture in history, it is imperative that we uphold the basic human rights of every individual, regardless of their race or nationality. Sadly, the Black migrant community has been subjected to a disproportionate amount of discrimination and violence. We must work tirelessly to ensure that their rights are upheld both now and in the future. This requires a collective effort from all of us.
Human rights are universal and inalienable; indivisible; interdependent and interrelated. We are all born with them and we all have the same rights, regardless of where we live, our gender, race, religion, culture or ethnic background. (UNFPA)
The International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly resolution in December 1990, took the Universal Declaration of Human Rights a step further, and other human rights conventions and treaties by the UN (United Nations) and the ILO (International Labor Organization), as well as the Convention on the Rights of the Child and was intentional to include migrants, both as they actively migrated and as they settled as immigrants, and categorized them as economic migrants, migrant workers, women, children who are particularly discriminated against, and therefore need their own targeted protection instruments that go beyond regions and intra and trans borders. What the convention does is to bring visibility to migrant workers and their families, and to ensure that countries that sign and ratify this convention and violate the articles within them are penalized.
In the tradition of The United States, to avoid being in compliance with any accountability to this convention, and to continue being able to exploit children, undocumented women, Black women and men, they have not signed this convention. But it is not only the United States, the UN Convention on Migrant Workers' Rights has not yet been ratified by a single western migrant-receiving state, despite being one of the UN's core human rights instruments. Their commitment to migration, economic justice, racial justice, women’s rights, children rights and basic liberation is not there.
- We demand that civil society within the United States and the international community, put pressure on the US government to sign and ratify (and implement) the UN International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families;
- Black Women and girls face added racism and xenophobia while migrating, this many times leads to physical, sexual and/or emotional violence. We demand special protections for Black Migrant women and girls, who face added racism and xenophobia and fear when migrating in general;
- We demand that migrant workers and members of their families be protected against violence, physical injury, threats and intimidation, whether by public officials or by private individuals, groups or institutions. (Article 16, UN Convention on Migrant Workers' Rights).
Despite this expiration date, Black migrants will continue to experience ongoing struggles and injustices due to racist immigration policies. From disproportionately high levels of detention, extortionate asylum fees, and unjust deportations, Black migrants are actively subjected to hate-motivated laws rooted in systemic racism. As we turn away from the harsh reality imposed by Title 42, it is important for us to recognize our collective responsibility for creating spaces where all people - regardless of racial background - can access safety without routine violence or discrimination.
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