How race and religion have always played a role in who gets refuge in US

April 28, 2022

In the weeks since Russia invaded Ukraine, millions of Ukrainians have fled the country as refugees. Hundreds of those refugees have now arrived at the southern border of the United States seeking asylum, after flying to Mexico on tourist visas.

At the border, Ukrainians, alongside thousands of other asylum seekers, must navigate two policies meant to keep people out. The first is the “Migrant Protection Protocols,” a U.S. government action initiated by the Trump administration in December 2018 and known informally as “Remain in Mexico.” The second is Title 42, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention directive crafted in 2020, ostensibly to protect public health during the COVID-19 pandemic. The directive expels all irregular immigrants (those without permanent residency or a visa in hand) and asylum seekers who try to enter the U.S. by land.

On March 11, 2022, however, the Biden administration provided guidance allowing Customs and Border Protection officers to exempt Ukrainians from Title 42 on a case-by-case basis, which has allowed many families to enter. However, this exception has not been granted to other asylum seekers, no matter what danger they are in. It is possible that the administration may lift Title 42 at the end of May 2022, but that plan has encountered fierce debates.

Source: How race and religion have always played a role in who gets refuge in US