Biden administration will appeal ruling invalidating Title 42 border ban, but won’t delay its end

washington – Biden administration will appeal a court decision The Justice Department announced Wednesday that it has invalidated a public health order US border officials have used to expel migrants from the US-Mexico border during the coronavirus pandemic.

In a filing in federal district court in Washington, DC, the Justice Department said the administration has decided to appeal a decision last month that would have required the government to stop enforcing the pandemic-era border restriction, which was Is known. title 42The part of the US Code that contains public health laws.

In its filing to US District Court Judge Emmett Sullivan, the Justice Department said, “The government respectfully disagrees with this Court’s decision and will argue on appeal, as it has argued in this Court, that the CDC’s Title 42 orders were valid. ” Trump-era policy invalidated last month.

Sullivan later gave the administration several weeks until December 21 to stop the evictions and comply with its mandate.

While it announced an appeal, the Justice Department has not called for a stay of Sullivan’s ruling and said it will seek to suspend the case while a separate appeal of another court order that terminated Title 42 is due this spring. has put on hold, and whereas the government issues a new rule governing the legal right to expel migrants on grounds of public health.

The Justice Department argued that if the administration wins the other Title 42 case stemming from a decision by a federal judge in Louisiana, the case in Washington, D.C. would become “mootable”. A spokeswoman for the Justice Department declined to elaborate further on Wednesday’s filing.

A Biden administration official said the Justice Department is not asking federal courts to keep Title 42 in place. Instead, the official said, the government is defending the authority behind the expulsions. The official said the Department of Homeland Security “continues to work at full speed in preparation for the lifting of Title 42 on December 21.”

However, the December 21 end date is still subject to change. more than a dozen Republican-led states are asking Sullivan let him defend Title 42 in court and indicated that he would ask for a suspension of his ruling, which would delay the policy’s expiration. If Sullivan denies the states’ motion, they can ask the DC Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court to intervene.

Migrant border crossings in the US are reaching new record levels
Immigrants seeking asylum in the United States are processed by US Border Patrol agents after entering Arizona from Mexico near Yuma, Arizona, on September 26, 2022.

/ Getty Images

Since March 2020, when the Trump administration first invoked Title 42, the US has carried out more than 2.4 million migrant removals at its southern border under the policy, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called to prevent the spread of COVID-19. authorized as a remedy. -19, despite internal protests.

The ruling by Sullivan last month stemmed from a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which argues that Title 42 is an illegal policy that violates rights asylum seekers,

The Justice Department’s decision to appeal the decision, without seeking to halt it, is the latest twist in a years-long legal battle over the fate of Title 42.

To the dismay of progressive advocates for asylum seekers, the Biden administration has vigorously defended Title 42 for more than a year, including in federal court, arguing that immigration at the southern border amid unprecedented levels of migrant arrivals The policy was needed to mitigate the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Then, in April of this year, the CDC announced it would stop authorizing Title 42, citing improvements in the pandemic situation, including increases in vaccination rates in immigrants’ home countries. But a coalition of Republican-led states filed a lawsuit against the dismissal and convinced a federal judge to block it on procedural grounds.

The Biden administration subsequently continued to rely on Title 42 to manage record-shattering immigration flows along the southern border, using it to complete more than 1 million removals of migrants in fiscal year 2022, which There was a 12-month period that ended on Sept. 30, say government figures.

Shortly after Sullivan declared Title 42 illegal last month, the Biden administration asked him to give border officials five weeks to comply with his decision. Sullivan approved the pause with “great reluctance”, saying he did so because it was not a request to suspend his decision pending an appeal.

Once Title 42 expires, the US will need to consider the cases of all immigrants who say they are persecuted or persecuted when deported, as set out in US asylum law.

The Biden administration has said it plans to increase agents and resources at the southern border and increase routine deportations, but Republicans and some moderate Democrats have raised concerns about the administration’s ability to manage an even greater increase in migrant arrivals. expressed.

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