KATHARINA OBSER IN WASHPOST: “Opinion: Ending Title 42 is the right and legal thing for the United States” — Is the “Last Train to Clarksville” 🚂 Leaving The Station With Nobody At The Throttle?

Katharina Obser
Katherina Obser
Director of Migrants Rights and Justice
Women’s Refugee Commission
PHOTO: Women’s Refugee Commission website

Yesterday at 2:08 p.m. EDT

An unfinished area of the border wall between the United States and Mexico near Sasabe, Ariz., on Jan. 23. (Salwan Georges/The Washington Post)

With respect, it was breathtaking how much Marc A. Thiessen’s April 13 op-ed, “Biden to turn border crisis into a total catastrophe,” mistook Trump-era “public health” policy for border security, conflated families fleeing for their lives with fentanyl crossing the U.S. border and carelessly suggested that returning to normal asylum processing means Wild West open borders.

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Seeking asylum is a right guaranteed under U.S. and international law. Ending Title 42 — a policy that weaponizes public health law to shut down the U.S. asylum system, which has been long decried by public health experts — simply means that people fleeing danger can once again exercise their right to apply for protection. It is policies such as Title 42, rather than the act of seeking asylum itself, that cause harm and catastrophe at our border. Title 42 has artificially inflated apprehension numbers because those expelled are left with no choice but to try again and again to seek safety.

Let’s remember that Poland, a country smaller than the state of New Mexico, just took in 2 million refugees in one month. The United States can certainly ensure a fair and orderly asylum system to welcome people with dignity. It’s the right — and legal — thing to do.

Katharina Obser, Washington

The writer is director of the Migrant Rights and Justice program at the Women’s Refugee Commission.


Thiessen is chronically wrong, misinformed, and misleading. He’s a righty shill. Why the Post finds it necessary to insult its readers by publishing him is beyond me. But, he’s not the problem here! Merely a “toxic symptom.”

The problem is lack of resolve, planning, and commitment to human rights and the legal rights of refugees and asylum seekers within the Biden Administration and by some misguided Dem politicos. The Administration should be screening, organizing, and “pre-processing” asylum claims in Mexico RIGHT NOW, TODAY, so that there is an orderly, timely process in place BEFORE May 23. An “army” of Asylum Officers and NGO volunteers should be working together NOW to determine what easily grantable applications can be moved to the front of the line and actually granted on May 28 when new regulations go into effect.

From what I’ve read and heard, this isn’t happening. The Administration isn’t taking the necessary and available steps to make the system work at ports of entry and to use that success to establish the system’s credibility among asylum seekers and thereby discourage and “dis-incentivize” dangerous and problematic unauthorized entries between ports of entry. 

The best way of “shutting down the Abbotts and the Thiessens of the world” is to get a functioning legal system back in place at the border using available legal tools and new regulations to insure that those entitled to asylum are promptly and favorably processed and admitted and that those not entitled to admission or protection are expeditiously returned. 

It can be done! But, NOT the dilatory and confused way the Biden Administration appears to be going about it!

Also, a credible system that provides practical precedents and “real life examples” about who does and who does not qualify for asylum would help combat the misinformation about our legal system spread by smugglers, nativists like Thiessen, and disgracefully, some Dems. 

That, in turn, should help individuals in countries in crisis to make better, more informed decisions about whether to seek asylum in the U.S. Also, the Biden Administration needs a robust, realistic refugee program for Latin America and the Caribbean. That would make it unnecessary for those who are refugees to come to the border to apply for asylum.

Katharina, you need to pick up the phone, call your contacts in the Biden Administration, and get them off their tails and laser-focused on solving the problems, before it is too late, rather than “wandering in the wilderness.” Sadly, Thiessen isn’t the only one talking nonsense and spreading misinformation! 

Supposedly responsible officials in the Biden Administration, those who have disgracefully dragged their collective feet on lifting the Title 42 charade, restoring the rule of law to asylum, and long overdue due process reforms of the Immigration Courts, are “channeling Thiessen.” That’s as idiotic and counterproductive as it is immoral. It’s also “bad politics” — even if some Dems are too blind and scared to admit it!

Inexcusably, the experts who understand what’s happening at the border, the disastrous human effects, and who have the skills and visionary thinking essential to restore the rule of law at the border are largely “on the outside looking in.” But, Katharina, if you and other leaders of the NGO community can’t get the Biden Administration out of their “perma-funk” and focused on pulling out all the stops to fix the asylum system by May 23, their “planned failure” will become your never-ending problem. Worst of all, vulnerable, innocent humans, who want only to be treated fairly and in accordance with law, will continue to suffer unspeakable fates at the hands of our Government’s ineptitude!

🇺🇸Due Process Forever!



KATHARINA OBSER IN WASHPOST: “Opinion: Ending Title 42 is the right and legal thing for the United States” — Is the “Last Train to Clarksville” 🚂 Leaving The Station With Nobody At The Throttle?