Mayor Turner, US city leaders ask President Biden for resources amid ‘unprecedented crisis’ at Southwest border

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Mayors in major cities across the United States, including Houston’s Sylvester Turner, called on President Joe Biden in an effort to get more resources to help manage the Southwest border crisis that is impacting the country.

In a letter that also included Mayor Eric Adams of New York City, Mayor Karen Bass of Los Angeles, and Mayor Michael Hancock of Denver, leaders asked for a long-term federal strategy and robust resources to manage the crisis.

“This is a matter of grave importance to us as we are experiencing a dramatic influx of asylum seekers and anticipate even more after May 11th due to the lifting of the Director for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) order, originally issued in March 2020, pursuant to authorities granted by sections 362 and 365 of the Public Health Service (PHS) Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 265 and 268 (known as Title 42),” the letter said.

The mayors have asked to meet with the president to discuss the ways the administration can immediately work with Congress and other officials to “avoid a scenario in which large numbers of additional asylum seekers are brought to our cities.”

“In the United States, the federal government is responsible for steering immigration policy, however the undersigned mayors have been working on the frontlines of this crisis to address the basic humanitarian needs of new migrant arrivals,” the letter said.

The mayors mentioned that in the last several months, many cities have experienced an increase in asylum seekers, including many who have arrived in the U.S. after fleeing violence and economic instability.

Turner, Bass, Adams and Hancock included that mayors have led local multi-agency efforts to cover the “cascading effects” of asylum seeker support which includes the need for shelter, food, and health care.

“Like the Biden-Harris Administration, our cities believe asylum is a human right and that asylum seekers deserve to be welcomed with dignity – both at the border and at their desired resettlement destinations. Our cities have been hard at work doing more than our fair share and we need continued federal governmental assistance,” the document said. “We have identified several opportunities for partnership and would like to meet with you to discuss the ways we can further partner to ensure our nation humanely accommodates all asylum seekers. Our cities are continuing to work hard to help asylum seekers in need of food, shelter, legal, and travel assistance, but we cannot do it alone and need the support of our federal partners.”

What is Title 42?

Title 42 is the name of an emergency health authority. It was a holdover from President Donald Trump’s administration and began in March 2020. The authority allowed U.S. officials to turn away migrants who came to the U.S.-Mexico border on the grounds of preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Before that, migrants could cross illegally, ask for asylum and be allowed into the U.S. They were then screened and often released to wait out their immigration cases.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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