Judge blocks US from deporting immigrants under Title 42 policy

washington – A federal judge on Tuesday blocked federal immigration officials from using a public health authority known as title 42 To get migrants out faster, blocking the main tool used by the Biden administration to manage an unprecedented migration wave at the US-Mexico border.

Judge Emmett Sullivan of the US District Court for the District of Columbia revoked an order issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that allowed US border officials to expel hundreds of thousands of migrants on public health grounds , saying that this order was not properly enacted.

First issued in 2020 by the Trump administration at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the Title 42 policy draws on a late 19th-century law designed to prevent the “introduction” of infectious diseases into the US, Title 42. Immigrants processed under the U.S. are not allowed to request US asylum and are instead summarily expelled from the country.

Tuesday’s The decision stemmed from a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which argued that Title 42 puts immigrants in harm’s way and violates US asylum law. Immigrants on US soil, including those who cross the border illegally, are allowed to request humanitarian protection.

Lee Gelernt, the ACLU attorney who filed the lawsuit, told CBS News, “This ruling means a lot for asylum seekers and will end the abuse of public health laws to prevent desperate people from seeking protection.”

CBS News contacted the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice, which may ask an appeals court to suspend Tuesday’s decision. Sullivan said he would not put his decision on hold pending an appeal.

Later on Tuesday, lawyers for the Biden administration asked Sullivan to suspend his ruling for 5 weeks until December 21, citing operational concerns about the abrupt termination of Title 42 and the need for an “orderly transition” to regular immigration processing. citing concerns.

“This transition period is critical to ensuring that DHS can continue its mission to secure the nation’s borders and conduct its border operations in an orderly manner,” Justice Department lawyers wrote.

In the 49-page opinion, Sullivan said he determined that Title 42 was “arbitrary and arbitrary” in violation of federal administrative law governing policy regulations. He said the CDC failed to properly explain the rationale for authorizing an unprecedented removal authorization as opposed to implementing less drastic measures to reduce COVID concerns, such as vaccinations and monoclonal antibodies.

Sullivan also said the CDC “failed to consider the harm to migrants subject to removal,” citing reports warning that migrants could be persecuted in Mexico and elsewhere after being removed from the US. or may otherwise be victimized.

“It is unreasonable for the CDC to assume that it can ignore the consequences of any actions it chooses to pursue its goals, especially when those actions involve the suspension of non-citizens’ codified procedural and substantive rights.” involved the extraordinary decision to make . . . safe harbor demands,” Sullivan wrote.

Border Patrol agents talk to a group of migrants being brought from Tijuana, Baja California state, Mexico, on November 11, 2022.

Guillermo Arias/AFP via Getty Images

After continuing to defer removal for more than a year, the Biden administration announced the expiration of Title 42 in April, citing improving pandemic conditions. But through a separate lawsuit, a coalition of Republican-led states convinced a federal judge in Louisiana to block the termination.

While it appealed that ruling, the Biden administration has continued to rely heavily on Title 42 as a form of border management policy, amid a record number of migrant apprehensions at the southern border. It recently expanded border removals to prevent Venezuelan immigrants from entering the US illegally.

In fiscal year 2022, which ends Sept. 30, US officers at the southern border will stop migrants nearly 2.4 million times, the highest annual figure on record. Federal data shows that more than 1 million of those encounters with immigrants result in them being deported under Title 42.

On paper, Title 42 applies to land borders with Canada and Mexico and to migrants of all nationalities, but it is primarily used to return Mexican and Central American migrant adults along the southern border to Mexico or the Northern Triangle region of Central America. is done for by Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

For diplomatic and logistical reasons, the US has not used Title 42 extensively to expel immigrants of other nationalities. The one exception was an air evacuation blitz for Haiti in the fall of 2021 following the sudden arrival of thousands of Haitian migrants in Del Rio, Texas.

For more than two years, Mexico only allowed the US to expel Mexican and Central American migrants to its territory. But in October, Mexico announced it would accept Venezuelan expulsions as part of a broader strategy in which the US agreed to allow 24,000 Venezuelans to enter the country legally.

While both the Trump and Biden administrations have portrayed the Title 42 policy as a tool to reduce coronavirus outbreaks in border facilities, its public health rationale has been challenged by public health experts, including CDC officials, who have criticized the policy. objected to its implementation.

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