Harold Koh, a senior adviser and political appointee of the State Department’s legal team, resigned, accusing Biden’s “inhumane” treatment of migrants
A top State Department adviser resigned, criticizing President Joe Biden’s administration for its “inhumane” treatment of migrants, a new report revealed Monday.
Harold Koh, a senior adviser and political appointee of the State Department’s legal team, denounced the government for its harsh treatment of migrants through its use of Title 42, a Donald Trump-era policy that allows them to ban people from entering the country during a health crisis.
Koh called the policy “illegal,” “inhumane” and “not worthy of this government I support so strongly,” in an Oct. 2 legal memo obtained by Politico.
“I believe that this government’s current implementation of the Title 42 authority still violates our legal obligation not to deport or return (‘refouler’) persons fearing persecution, death or torture. , especially migrants fleeing Haiti,” the memo reads.
He added that “clearly legal, more humane alternatives exist.”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki defended Title 42, saying it was a “public health” policy, not an immigration policy.
“I would say we don’t see Title 42 as an immigration policy,” she said at her press conference on Monday. “It’s a public health authority because we’re still in the middle of a pandemic.”
She added that “there are several exceptions to Title 42, including those fleeing persecution, raising concerns about fear, going through trial.”
Title 42 took off in March 2020, the height of the COVID pandemic, under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention when it was led by a Trump appointee.
But the Biden administration has upheld the policy, and officials say it’s a public health issue, so any decision to lift it must be made by the CDC.
The CDC reviews the policy every 60 days. The final review came over the weekend, where the agency, citing transmission speeds and the Delta variant, “determined that the warrant remains necessary at this time.”
Immigration advocates have objected to Title 42, saying it harms migrants, and the policy is controversial among Biden advisers.
By August, more than 195,000 migrants had been evicted under Title 42, according to US Customs and Border Patrol data.
More than 195,000 migrants had been evicted under Title 42 by August, according to US Customs and Border Patrol data
Title 42 was most recently used to evict thousands of Haitians seeking asylum while camping under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas
The policy was most recently used to evict thousands of Haitians seeking asylum while camping under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas.
Last month, the US special envoy to Haiti resigned over what he called the “inhumane” deportation of Haitian migrants under Title 42.
‘I will not be associated with the United States’ [sic] “an inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees and illegal immigrants to Haiti, a country where US officials are locked in secure compounds because of the danger posed by armed gangs that control everyday life,” Ambassador Daniel Foote wrote in his resignation letter.
In the letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Foote said another reason for his resignation is that his recommendations to help Haiti have been “ignored and rejected.”
“Our policy approach to Haiti remains deeply flawed,” Foote continued in his letter, “and my recommendations have been ignored and rejected, when not edited to project a different story than mine.”
US Special Envoy to Haiti Daniel Foote resigned in September citing treatment of Haitians under Title 42
A State Department spokesman accused Foote of “misrepresenting the circumstances of his resignation” and said some of his ideas were deemed “harmful”.
‘[A]All proposals, including those led by Special Envoy Foote, have been fully considered in a rigorous and transparent policy process,” the spokesperson said. “Some of those proposals were determined to be detrimental to our commitment to promoting democracy in Haiti and were rejected during the policy process.”
“To say that his proposals were ignored is simply incorrect,” they added.
The statement said: “It is unfortunate that instead of engaging in a solution-oriented policy process, Special Envoy Foote resigned and mischaracterized the circumstances of his resignation.”