NEW YORK (April 5, 2022) – UNICEF USA welcomes the U.S. Government’s recent decision to lift the restrictions at the U.S.-Mexico border under Title 42 of the U.S. Code. This is an important step to restore the right to asylum and ensure that children and families at risk – who make up over 30% of encounters at the Southwest border –have access to protection and safety.

Enacted in March 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Title 42 order expelled most migrants arriving at the U.S. border back to dangerous conditions in their countries of origin without access to asylum, or adequate health and protection screenings. Though the provision was amended in November 2020 to exempt unaccompanied children, families with children continued to be expelled. With the lifting of Title 42 going into effect on May 23, 2022, UNICEF USA remains concerned about the safety and wellbeing of asylum-seeking children and families and calls for the Government to ensure the rights of children and families are upheld. Protecting children’s rights and access to asylum can be done while safeguarding public health and security.

As the U.S. Government puts in place measures to receive migrant and asylum-seeking children and families in preparation for the planned lifting of Title 42, there is an important opportunity to ensure the reception system safeguards children’s rights and wellbeing. This means ensuring child protection professionals lead on interactions and decision-making for children, and investing in community-based shelters, case management and humanitarian support to meet basic needs of children and families arriving.

“UNICEF USA believes all children have a right to survive and thrive, regardless of their migration status. Their rights do not stop at our borders,” said Michael J. Nyenhuis, President and CEO of UNICEF USA.  “We remain committed to working with the Government to ensure that the best interests of all children are protected, at our borders, in communities that welcome migrant children and in addressing root causes of migration in the Americas.”

Migrant children have hopes, dreams and talents and, with the right support, they can contribute to communities in the U.S to rebuild back better.

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The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in more than 190 countries and territories to pursue a more equitable world for every child. UNICEF has helped save more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization, by providing health care and immunizations, safe water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more.

UNICEF USA advances the global mission of UNICEF by rallying the American public to support the world’s most vulnerable children. Together, we are working toward a world that upholds the rights of all children and helps every child thrive. For more information, visit

For more information, contact

Mackenzie Dougherty, UNICEF USA, 212.922.2551, [email protected]