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This article was originally published on March 22, 2021.

As reports show a rise in the number of unaccompanied minors that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is encountering at the southern border, the Tahirih Justice Center remains concerned about the humane treatment of children fleeing violence. Children are being held in deplorable conditions of detention for extended periods of time and we urge the federal government to center their wellbeing and uphold their right to seek safety as they process asylum claims.

Headlines continue to call the present situation a “border crisis” and we oppose this usage. The challenges at the border are not new and are a result of harmful policies that focus on the criminalization of migrants, rather than their humanity. Policies like Title 42 have been used to illegally deny refugees, including survivors of gender-based violence, their right to seek asylum under the guise of unfounded public health concerns and contributed to the present challenges.

Tahirih calls on the administration to prioritize policies that secure justice and safety for immigrant survivors of violence. This starts with repealing Title 42, which the previous and current administrations continue to use to illegally expel adults and children with their families seeking asylum—leaving them vulnerable to further violence and trauma. There is no crisis at the border except one of our own making. We must examine how our country treats children and families fleeing violence and protect access to justice.

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