A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention official has confirmed what immigration rights advocates have suspected all along: Implementation of Title 42 to rapidly expel asylum seekers due to COVID-19 had little to do with the pandemic.
Martin Cetron, director of the CDC’s division of global migration and quarantine, told a House select subcommittee that the idea for the anti-immigrant directive “came from outside the CDC subject matter experts.”
As reported by Roll Call, Cetron said the Title 42 order, was “not drafted by me or my team” but rather was “handed to us.”
And as also suspected, this order likely originated with Stephen Miller, the architect of most of the Trump administration’s most cruel policies against immigrants, including the idea to separate parents and children at the border and detain the children while sending parents to Mexico.
The Trump administration declared — and the Biden administration agreed for a period of time — that using the rare Title 42 policy to keep immigrants out of the country without due process was necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The policy ultimately was issued through the CDC, but it was the work of the White House, Cetron said.
Cetron’s testimony was included in a 94-page report by the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis.
Last year, the subcommittee released testimony from former CDC official Anne Schuchat, who said Cetron refused to sign the Title 42 order because “the bulk of the evidence at that time did not support this policy proposal.”
Although the Biden administration kept the controversial policy in place for more than a year after entering the White House, even when it sought to undo the policy, a federal judge in Louisiana sided with Republican-led states to say it was necessary to keep Title 42 in place.
Title 42 has been used to expel more than 1 million asylum seekers at the southern border since October 2021.
In March this year, the ACLU reported: “To date, no career CDC scientist has publicly expressed public support for the use of Title 42 — we have heard only from political appointees.”
7 reasons to calm down about the termination of Title 42 | Opinion by Elket Rodriguez