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A federal judge has blocked the Biden administration from ending Title 42, a Trump-era rule put in place during the pandemic authorizing immigration and border agents to immediately deport migrants who crossed illegally.
The rule was set to end on Monday, but several states filed suit to block the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from ending the rule, claiming the agency did not follow federal law in doing so.
“Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have decried the end of the policy — implemented as public health initiative under the Trump administration to block migrants from coming during the pandemic — out of concern that ending Title 42 would exacerbate already record numbers at the border,” Axios reported Friday.
“Given the impact of the Termination Order on the Plaintiff States and their showing that the CDC did not comply with the [Administrative Procedure Act], the Court concludes that the public interest would be served by a preliminary injunction preventing the termination of the CDC’s Title 42 Orders,” U.S. District Judge Robert Summerhays of the Western District of Louisiana noted in his 47-page ruling.
Not surprisingly, the Justice Department announced following the ruling that it would appeal.
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) invoked its authority under Title 42 due to the unprecedented public-health dangers caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” department spokesperson Anthony Coley said.
“CDC has now determined, in its expert opinion, that continued reliance on this authority is no longer warranted in light of the current public-health circumstances. That decision was a lawful exercise of CDC’s authority,” he added.
Twenty-four states filed suit to keep the policy in place, Axios noted. In addition, there is a bipartisan effort in the Senate to keep the rule in place, which is holding up the latest COVID relief package, the outlet added. The House has passed a bipartisan measure but the Senate has yet to act.
“The decision is wrong and we would expect the administration to take immediate action to undo this injunction if the White House is actually serious about finally getting rid of the Trump administration’s unlawful attempts to eliminate protections for asylum seekers,” ACLU’s Lee Gelernt, who is the lead attorney in the Title 42 lawsuits in DC, told Axios in a statement.
But supporters of the ruling were elated.
“Today’s ruling is a significant win as Title 42 is one of the few policies that is actually working,” said Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, according to Fox News. “I’m grateful to the court for upholding the rule of law and helping maintain some level of sanity as we continue to battle the Biden-made border crisis.”
The network added:
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) had announced in April that the order, which has been used since March 2020 to expel a majority of migrants at the southern border due to the COVID-19 pandemic, would expire at the end of May.
The move sparked outrage from both Democrats and Republicans, who warned that the move would lead to a surge in illegal immigration at the border and more people being released into the U.S.
“After considering current public health conditions and an increased availability of tools to fight COVID-19 (such as highly effective vaccines and therapeutics), the CDC Director has determined that an Order suspending the right to introduce migrants into the United States is no longer necessary,” the agency said.
The lawsuit accused the administration of failing to estimate or account for the costs to the states of lifting the order.
It also cites “increased health care costs for aliens infected with COVID-19 and the cost of increased illegal immigration caused by the Termination Order and the presence of much greater numbers of paroled aliens with non-meritorious asylum claims who were induced to enter the United States because of the Termination Order.”
“This suit challenges an imminent, man-made, self-inflicted calamity: the abrupt elimination of the only safety valve preventing this administration’s disastrous border policies from devolving into an unmitigated catastrophe,” the complaint read.