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Isa Peña

For Immediate Release: May 11, 2023

Innovation Law Lab Responds to End of Title 42 and New Asylum Ban

 The Biden administration lifts one unlawful barrier and replaces it with another

Portland, OR —  Today marks the end of Title 42 – a ruthless policy that unlawfully denied thousands of people access to the U.S. asylum system. In its place, the Biden administration will now rely on a new asylum ban to again shut America’s doors to individuals and families fleeing persecution.

While Biden’s asylum ban purports to provide “lawful, safe, and orderly pathways” into the United States, in practice it will deny refuge to many people arriving at the southern border. Under the new ban, individuals who do not have the luxury of seeking parole from abroad or who cannot access a notoriously defective smartphone app are presumed ineligible for asylum. The ban also presumes ineligibility for asylum for individuals who have traveled through other countries on their way to the US border without seeking protection there, echoing the Trump-era transit ban that was found unlawful in 2019 after a legal challenge brought by Innovation Law Lab and others.

“The lifting of the inhumane and discriminatory Title 42 policy is long overdue. But in announcing its new asylum ban, the Biden administration is lifting one unlawful barrier only to replace it with another,” said Tess Hellgren, Deputy Legal Director at Innovation Law Lab. “Ironically, this asylum ban claims to address the ‘circumvention’ of lawful migration pathways, when it actually obstructs these pathways. The right to seek asylum is enshrined in U.S. law. Americans have a responsibility – both moral and legal – to meet migrants seeking protection with dignity and fairness, providing them the just welcome they deserve. Instead, like Title 42, this latest asylum ban will punish individuals and families who are literally fleeing for their lives.”

While Innovation Law Lab welcomes the end of Title 42, a termination we have been fighting for inside and outside the courtroom, we decry the Biden administration’s decision to implement its new asylum ban, despite ample knowledge of its human impacts and legal shortcomings. As these changes unravel at the federal level, we are committed to continuing our work across the country to defend the right to seek asylum and fundamental human rights, including litigation challenging ongoing harms from the implementation of Title 42 and the Remain in Mexico policy. We remain committed to defending the dignity and rights of migrants in our community, from our anti-carceral work  to our vital role in the development and implementation of some of Oregon’s most progressive immigration policies. 


Innovation Law Lab, based in Portland, Oregon, with projects around the United States, is a nonprofit organization that leverages law, technology and organizing to fight for immigrant and refugee justice. For more information, see and follow us on social media: @innovationlawlab on Facebook & Instagram and @ThinkLawLab on Twitter.