Title 42 Lifting Blocked

Federal judge District Judge Robert R. Summerhays, a Trump appointee in Lafayette, Louisiana blocked the Biden administration from lifting a public health order that immigration officers have used to quickly expel migrants at the southwest border, including asylum-seekers.  He ruled that the Biden administration violated administrative law when it announced that it planned to halt Title 42, a health order aimed at preventing the spread of communicable diseases in the country.  Summerhays said in his ruling that the Biden administration violated administrative procedure laws and that lifting Title 42 would cause “irreparable harm” because the states would have to spend money on health care, law enforcement, education and other services for migrants. 

The U.S. Department of Justice quickly filed an appeal Friday with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals maintaining that the Biden administration’s decision to lift 42 was legal.  In response, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said in a statement that Title 42 is not an immigration control tool but a public health order, but that it “will comply with the court’s order to continue enforcing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Title 42 Order as long as it remains in place.” The administration had announced that it would stop expelling migrants under Title 42 starting May 23, 2023 and go back to detaining and deporting migrants who don’t qualify to enter and remain in the U.S. — a longer process that allows migrants to request asylum in the U.S, however, the original process will remain in place instead.

This resulted from 20 Republican-controlled states, led by Arizona, who sued the administration in Summerhays’ court on April 3, claiming that lifting the Title 42 order would create chaos at the U.S.-Mexico border and force the states to spend taxpayer money providing services like health care to migrants. The Trump administration invoked Title 42 in March 2020, effectively closing the borders to migrants, including those seeking asylum, if they didn’t already have legal permission to enter. Since then, immigration officials have used the order nearly 2 million times to expel migrants, many of whom have been removed multiple times. Since Title 42 removals began, the percentage of migrants apprehended more than once by the Border Patrol — called the recidivism rate — has increased from 7% to 27% percent.

Photo by Arisa Chattasa

Join the Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top