Federal judge strikes down Trump-era border policy known as Title 42



A federal judge on Tuesday struck down a Donald Trump-era policy used by US border officials to quickly deport migrants because of the Covid pandemic, saying the ban had little proven public health benefit, even though it led to migrants to dangerous places.

U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan in the District of Columbia has revoked the order known as Title 42, effectively restoring asylum seekers’ access to the borders, for the first time since the Trump administration ruled it out during the early days of the pandemic.

The decision — which takes effect immediately — removes one of the Trump administration’s last remaining barriers to asylum, advocates for immigrants said. It also poses an immediate logistical challenge to the Biden administration after two consecutive years of record detentions at the US-Mexico border, with the possibility that the number could grow.

Biden officials have long worried a massive stampede to the border triggered an emergency similar to the one in September 2021 in Del Rio, Texas, when thousands of migrants crossed illegally and overwhelmed U.S. agents, creating a squalid encampment on the banks of the Rio Grande that embarrassed the Biden administration.

Sullivan’s ruling also comes days after top border official Chris Magnus resigned under pressure following a clash with Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas.

The Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security had no immediate comment on the ruling.

The American Civil Liberties Union, one of the organizations that filed the lawsuit on behalf of migrants, said Sullivan’s decision to cancel the Title 42 policy means the policy ends for all migrants, including families and adults traveling without children .

“Unfortunately, Title 42 had a long shelf life, but it has finally ended, and that will be a huge relief to desperate asylum seekers,” said ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt.

Sullivan also made it clear that he would not suspend his order pending an appeal, leaving it to a higher court to do so if the Biden administration needed more time to hear the ruling.

In October alone, federal agents made more than 230,600 arrests at the US-Mexico border, and expelled more than 78,400 without giving them a chance to plead their case.

US officials have executed more than 2.4 million evictions, mainly from the southern border, since the previous administration issued the order in March 2020. Most of the evictions have taken place under President Biden as the number of arriving migrants has skyrocketed.

In his ruling, Sullivan sided with migrants who sued the government last year, arguing that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Title 42 decision was “arbitrary and capricious,” in violation of federal law. Proponents said there was no evidence the policy protected public health and that the government had not considered alternatives that could have prevented migrants from being deported to countries where they were in extreme danger.

Sullivan wrote that federal officials knew the order was “likely to expel migrants to locations with a ‘high probability’ of ‘persecution, torture, violent assault or rape’” – and did so anyway.

“It is unreasonable for the CDC to assume that it can ignore the consequences of actions it decides to take to achieve its goals,” Sullivan wrote. “There is no question that the impact on migrants was indeed enormous.”

The Biden administration could appeal, but lawyers said this is unlikely because the CDC agreed in April that the Title 42 order was unnecessary due to lower covid transmission rates and the availability of masks and vaccines, and sought to reverse the order to be lifted in May.

A federal judge in Louisiana temporarily blocked the Biden administration after Republicans in Texas and 23 other states filed suit alleging officials failed to consider the impact that taking in new migrants would have on their budgets.

U.S. District Judge Robert Summerhays, a Trump appointee, said the Biden administration could end the Title 42 order after the public weighed in, but the CDC has not begun that process and declined to say why.

Sullivan’s ruling moots that lawsuit by stating that the CDC should never have issued the Title 42 warrant at all.

US arrests along the border with Mexico hit 2 million a year for the first time

Sullivan, a Clinton appointee, has issued rulings that temporarily bar the administration from deporting migrant families and unaccompanied minors, though appeals courts partially overturned him as the cases made their way to the courts. The Biden administration stopped deporting unaccompanied minors, but it has returned more than 1.5 million other migrants.

Sullivan’s ruling on Tuesday stemmed from a case brought by migrant families, but the judge’s decision to withdraw the injunction means it applies to all migrants, including adults traveling alone, the largest group to be deported last year. border was taken into custody.

Sullivan’s ruling follows an October House report that said the Trump White House “brutally interfered” with the CDC to further its political goals. Officials “exploited CDC’s Title 42 authority to effectively close the southern border under the guise of curbing the spread of the virus,” the report said.

Outside the border, the former president downplayed the virus as it swept through the country, killing more than 1 million people and becoming the third leading cause of death.

After Biden was elected, immigrant advocates attempted to negotiate an end to the policy.

The Biden administration resisted as mass migration surged, prompting the American Civil Liberties Union and other advocacy groups representing the migrants to return to federal court to force the government to end the policy.

In his ruling, Sullivan noted that the government has never proven its claims that there was a risk of migrants introducing covid into the United States. During the first seven months of the Title 42 policy, he wrote, Customs and Border Protection found an average of one migrant per day testing positive.

When the Biden administration extended the order in August 2021, he said, the number of daily cases in the United States was nearly double that in Mexico.

Sullivan wrote that Title 42 was also not an effective border control measure, serving instead to smuggle migrants to countries where they could easily try again, and recidivism rates skyrocketed.

Closing the border to asylum seekers also made little sense to many observers, given that millions of travelers — far more than those who arrived at the border — came to the United States via legal routes. in planes, trains, buses and in cars.

CDC officials describe intense pressure, job threats from Trump White House

Some Democrats also clung to the Title 42 policy as border fears skyrocketed. Some lawmakers proposed a bipartisan bill that would delay ending evictions.

Biden pledged during his campaign to restore access to asylum — and he has reversed some of Trump’s immigration restrictions, expanded the refugee system and sought to protect migrants from deportation. Biden also said he wanted an orderly system that would “make it better, not worse”.

“The last thing we need is to say that we immediately stop access to asylum, the way it is now administered, and end up with 2 million people at our border,” Biden said in December 2020 before taking office. .

The Department of Homeland Security has said it intends to handle migrant cases swiftly, provide protection to those who deserve it and deport migrants who do not qualify for asylum. Anyone attempting to re-enter the United States after being deported could face criminal charges and jail time, a consequence that does not apply to those being deported.

In the past, however, the influx has led the department to release large numbers of migrants, overwhelming border towns and cities, awaiting an immigration court hearing that could take months or years. Republican governors in states like Texas have been so frustrated with the influx that they’ve taken migrants to northern cities to force them to care for the new arrivals.

Federal immigration law allows anyone who sets foot on US soil to apply for asylum, although they must meet specific eligibility criteria. Asylum seekers should fear persecution or torture in their country because of their race, religion, nationality, political beliefs or other reasons that make them a target.

Border officials arrested more than 2.3 million migrants along the border with Mexico last fiscal year. More than 1.6 million were adults, 560,600 were families and 152,000 were unaccompanied minors, a record high for that group.

Nick Miroff contributed to this report.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


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