Judge will stop US border officials from ending Title 42 deportation policy


A federal judge in Louisiana said on Monday he would grant a motion to stop the Biden administration from immediately lifting an emergency pandemic-related border restriction that allowed U.S. immigration officials to quickly deport migrants.

U.S. District Judge Robert Summerhays, appointed by former President Donald Trump who is overseeing the lawsuit brought by 21 Republican-run states, said in an opinion he had agreed to issue a temporary restraining order preventing the officials to end the rule known as Title 42, which is due to end on May 23.

It’s not yet clear whether the order will prevent the administration from ending Title 42 on May 23, or if it will only prohibit them from beginning to end the policy before then.

Summerhays, a judge in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, held a status conference on the case Monday afternoon. The status conference was closed to the press.

“For the reasons stated in the record, the Court has announced its intention to grant the motion,” the judge said in a summary of the hearing. “The parties will consult on the specific terms to be contained in the temporary restraining order and attempt to reach an agreement.”

Since its inception in March 2020, the Title 42 Authority has enabled U.S. authorities along the Mexican border to deport migrants more than 1.8 million times to Mexico or their home countries without allowing them to seek asylum, which is generally required by US law, according to government data. .

While rolling back other Trump-era border restrictions, the Biden administration has maintained Title 42 for more than a year, arguing that the rapid deportations were necessary to control the transmission of COVID-19 to the interior of migrant processing facilities.

But earlier in April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an order saying the agency no longer believed the deportations were necessary to protect public health. The CDC said it would stop authorizing Title 42 on May 23 to give border officials time to prepare.

The CDC’s announcement alarmed Republicans and some moderate Democratic lawmakers, who expressed doubts about the Department of Homeland Security’s ability to deal with a likely surge in migrant arrivals after Title 42 was lifted.

Last week, the 21-state suing administration, led by Arizona, Louisiana and Missouri, said border officials had already begun to cut Title 42 and asked Summerhays to issue a restraining order. temporary ban “against any implementation of the Termination Order prior to its May 23 effective date.”

DHS officials did not respond to requests for comment on Monday’s development. A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment.

In an interview with CBS News last week, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas dismissed criticism that his department had not sufficiently prepared for the termination of Title 42. He cited the deployment of personnel additional traffic at the southern border, the expansion of means of transport for migrants and the creation of processing facilities.

“The claim that we have no plans is a claim that is not based on facts,” Mayorkas said. “We have been planning for months to deal with increases in migration; those we have already experienced and those we may encounter at the end of Title 42.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify the issue that the judge’s temporary restraining order should fix.

First published on April 25, 2022 / 5:23 PM

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