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Ohio human rights orgs call for an end to Title 42 after U.S. Supreme Court extends the policy

a line of migrants standing at the border of El Paso, Texas
Christian Chavez
A U.S. Border Patrol agent stands before a line of migrants before letting the group enter into El Paso, Texas, from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022. Migrants gathered along the Mexican side of the southern border Wednesday as they waited for the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether and when to lift pandemic-era restrictions that have prevented many from seeking asylum.

A coalition of national and Ohio human rights groups is calling on lawmakers to end Title 42, a pandemic-era policy that denies immigrants a chance to seek asylum.

Title 42 was set to expire this week, but the U.S. Supreme Court granted a request by Republican attorneys general who want to extend those restrictions, which allows the government to expel migrants who are seeking asylum in the United States.

RELATED: What to know about Title 42

"It provided government agencies with the ability to immediately expel — not deport, because deport means there was a legal review and proceeding," says Darryl Morin with Forward Latino. "No — this was just to immediately expel these immigrants from the United States."

He says that's prevented 2.4 million immigrants from exercising a legal right.

Katie Kersh with Advocates for Basic Legal Equality in Dayton represents several asylum seekers. She says they have fled torture in their home countries.

"I will tell you as an immigration attorney it is difficult enough once you are in the United States to win an asylum case," she says. "So the fact that folks are not being permitted to apply and avail themselves of their legal rights under the Refugee Act and the Immigration and Nationality Act, because of the Title 42 expulsions is a grave concern to their civil rights."

Lynn Tramonte with the Ohio Immigrant Alliance says there are two amendments in the Senate's omnibus spending package that would extend Title 42. She's calling on Ohio's senators to vote no.

"We can, and should and must, allow people to follow their legal right to request asylum," she says. "They're coming to the border and asking us for help. The chaos that's been created by Title 42 because people come here believing us when we say we are a country of human rights, and then they're getting turned back and they don't know where to go next."

Backers of Title 42 say lifting the ban will lead to a surge of people coming over the southern border and overwhelming the immigration system. The measure now may head from the courts to Congress as it's wrapped up in the omnibus bill currently before the Senate.

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.