Harold Koh, a legal adviser to the U.S. State Department, is using his resignation from the Biden administration to share his thoughts regarding Title 42, a Trump-era policy wielded to expel migrants from the southern border, ostensibly for reasons of public health, Politico reports. The administration recently employed the policy to deport Haitians who had crossed into the U.S. from Mexico, notes The Hill.
Koh, the "sole political appointee on the State Department's legal team," criticized Title 42 in an Oct. 2 memo circulating around the administration, calling it "illegal," "inhumane," and "not worthy of this administration that I so strongly support," per Politico.
"I believe this administration's current implementation of the Title 42 authority continues to violate our legal obligation not to expel or return ('refouler') individuals who fear persecution, death, or torture, especially migrants fleeing from Haiti," Koh wrote in his memo. An administration official told Politico that Koh's departure was "long-planned."
The memo is just "the latest example of internal stife" regarding immigration policy (and specifically Title 42) within the Biden administration; in one recent example, the U.S. special envoy to Haiti stepped down in protest of "inhumane" deportation of Haitian refugees.
The White House has insisted Title 42 is not an immigration authority and is instead governed by the CDC as a public health authority.
In his memo, Koh also outlined the difference between the administration's treatment of Afghan refugees and its use of Title 42, and called on officials to revise the policy, "especially as it affects Haitians," into one "that is worthy of this nation we love." Read more at Politico.