Federal Judge Blocks Use Of Title 42 To Expel Migrants At Border
Aerial view of migrants camping on the banks of the Rio Bravo river (or Rio Grande river, as it is called in the US) in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state, Mexico, taken on November 15, 2022.

A federal judge blocked the use of Title 42, a rule mainly used to expel migrants at the nation’s southern border in the interest of public health.

Judge Emmet Sullivan of the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., said that the use of the Trump-era policy to turn away migrants under the Administrative Procedures Act was “arbitrary” in his Tuesday ruling.

“It is unreasonable for the CDC to assume that it can ignore the consequences of any actions it chooses to take in the pursuit of fulfilling its goals, particularly when those actions included the extraordinary decision to suspend the codified procedural and substantive rights of non-citizens seeking safe harbor,” Sullivan said in the court opinion.

Title 42 was put into place in 2020 to prevent migrants from entering the nation during the COVID pandemic. The policy has since received strong attacks from a variety of organizations, as well as the Biden administration.

The ACLU and a group of other organizations sued to end the policy in July 2021, arguing that Title 42 was an unlawful interpretation of the Public Health Service Act.

The Biden administration also sought to end the policy earlier this year, but a response by GOP-led states sued to keep Title 42 in place. The latest ruling now requires the end of enforcing the practice unless a later ruling changes the decision.

The Biden administration has filed a motion asking the judge to let the order take effect in five weeks.

“The delay in implementation of the court’s order will allow the government to prepare for an orderly transition to new policies at the border. But to be clear, under the unopposed motion, Title 42 would remain in place for some period. During the period of this freeze, we will prepare for an orderly transition to new policies at the border,” the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement.

The ruling comes after Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data from Monday recorded 230,678 migrant encounters at the southern border in October. Many are concerned that the end of Title 42 would worsen Biden’s border crisis, as more than one million migrants have been expelled since 2020 under the policy.

Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott blasted the decision in a statement on Twitter on Tuesday.

“Federal Judge blocks federal authorities from using Title 42,” Abbott tweeted. “This will further signal to cartels, human smugglers, & illegal immigrants that the border is wide open—inciting more violence & lawlessness. Disastrous.”

Abbott also invoked the Invasion Clauses of the U.S.  and Texas Constitutions on Tuesday to authorize the state to better defend against invasion.

“While President Biden refuses to do his job and enforce the immigration laws enacted by Congress, the State of Texas is once again stepping up and taking unprecedented action to protect Americans and secure our southern border,” Abbott said in a statement. “The cartels have become emboldened and enriched by President Biden’s open border policies, smuggling in record numbers of people, weapons, and deadly drugs like fentanyl.”

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