by Camryn Myrla, staff writer
MAY 2022 — A U.S. judge temporarily blocked the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) from lifting restrictions on the country’s land borders April 25.
Section 252 of Title 42 prohibits entry into the U.S. when the Director of the CDC believes “there is a serious danger to the introduction of disease” into the country. The order was issued by the CDC in March 2020 at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the CDC had reported in early April 2022 that Title 42 was no longer needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 due to vaccines and other advancements that counter the virus. As a result, the public health agency called for the termination of the order by May 23.
U.S. District Judge Robert Summerhays, the judge who blocked the CDC from lifting border restrictions, was supported by many Republicans who believed that the order was vital for preventing illegal immigration. Officials predict that lifting Title 42 will cause an influx in migrants crossing the border, with the highest estimate being up to 18,000 people per day.
Meanwhile, Title 42 has been opposed by certain groups that advocate for human rights. Many of these groups argue the order unjustly turns away migrants searching for asylum in the United States.
For example, student groups for Amnesty International, a non-governmental organization focused on human rights, work together annually for its National Week of Student Action (NWSA). For 2022, the week was dedicated to defunding U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Bio-Med Science Academy’s Amnesty International chapter participated in NWSA, which took place April 4 to April 8 — several weeks before Judge Summerhays released any statement on Title 42.
“We really only focused on ICE and their work in the past,” reported junior Keira Vasbinder, the secretary of the club.
“None of us knew that this was going to happen, especially not even twenty days after [NWSA], but I don’t think any of us are that surprised,” she said.
“And the news came at such a bad time, where it’s too late in the school year to focus on this and get some real work done to protest anything,” Vasbinder explained. “The only thing we have time to do is post about it online, and maybe make posters. But it’s important that people hear us and understand how serious of a problem this [order] is.”
Katie Davos, the Youth and Student Program Specialist at Amnesty International, directed all student groups through NWSA.
“The Biden Administration cannot forget about the hundreds of thousands expelled at the border under Title 42,” Davos stated while advising student groups online. “Instead of harming and endangering people seeking safety, President Biden should take action to get people home, safe, and with their communities in the U.S.”
Editorial Note: Camryn Myrla is the coordinator of Bio-Med Science Academy’s Amnesty International chapter.