Judge Blocks Biden Administration From Lifting Title 42 Border Policy

Last Friday, a Louisiana federal judge appointed by former President Donald Trump “blocked the Biden administration’s move to lift Title 42,” a Trump-era policy instituted during the pandemic “as a public health order that immigration officers have used to quickly expel migrants at the southwest border, including asylum-seekers,” which was slated to end on Monday.

According to the Washington Post, 24 states back this position, and agree with U.S. District Judge Robert Summerhays decision to issue a preliminary injunction. These states have contended “that the expected border influx would impose costs on them for services for the newcomers, such as health care and education, that the government should have considered.” 

In the 47-page ruling, Summerhays wrote, “The Court agrees with the Plaintiff States that a nation-wide injunction is necessary for complete relief given the ability of immigrants crossing the border to move freely from one state to another…A preliminary injunction limited to the Plaintiff States will likely do nothing more than shift border crossings from the Plaintiff States to states not covered by the preliminary injunction…The Plaintiff States have demonstrated harm that will result from the Termination Order and that, despite the impact of the order on the states, they were not able to protect their interest by participating in the notice-and-comment process.”

The judge continued, “In sum, the Court finds that the Plaintiff States have established a substantial likelihood of success based on the CDC’s failure to comply with the rulemaking requirements of the [Administrative Procedure Act]. This finding is sufficient to satisfy the first requirement for injunctive relief.”

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security released a statement stating that the agency “will comply with the court’s order to continue enforcing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Title 42 Order as long as it remains in place.”

In a statement, Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, said “The Administration disagrees with the court’s ruling, and the Department of Justice has announced that it will appeal this decision…The authority to set public health policy nationally should rest with the Centers for Disease Control, not with a single district court.  However, in compliance with the court’s injunction, the Biden Administration will continue to enforce the CDC’s 2020 Title 42 public health authority pending the appeal.” 

This is a massive setback for President Biden’s efforts to reshape and reform immigration and border policies“after the Trump administration’s overhaul of the system,” but even though President Biden has spurned his predecessor’s “anti-immigration agenda…[Biden’s] administration [has] maintained Title 42 for so long that he ended up expelling migrants more times than” Trump. 

Pundits expect that this ruling will ignite a lengthy legal battle over the upcoming months, especially considering the fact that the U.S. Department of Justice has already filed an appeal with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that it was legal for the Biden administration to lift Title 42, given that the CDC said last month that “the measure was ‘no longer necessary.’”

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