A federal district judge has temporarily blocked the Biden administration from lifting a public health policy that allows federal border officials to immediately deport migrants at the U.S. southern border.
In a ruling released Friday afternoon, Louisiana-based U.S. District Judge Robert Summerhays said the Biden administration’s attempt to end the Title 42 policy was a mistake because it did not comply. to the Administrative Procedure Act. The program was due to end on Monday, May 23. The APA governs how regulations are made and public input.
“Given the impact of the termination order on the requesting states and their demonstration that the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] failed to comply with the APA, the Court finds that the public interest would be served by a preliminary injunction preventing the termination of CDC Title 42 orders,” Summerhays wrote.
The judge’s decision comes after 24 states filed a lawsuit to stop the administration from ending the policy. In addition to the provisions of the APA, the states have also argued that they will suffer irreparable harm if the policy ends due to the influx of migrants they would allegedly receive. Summerhays agreed that the states had shown that evidence.
“The Court concludes that the Applicant States have discharged this burden. The filing reflects that, based on the government’s own forecast, the Termination Order will result in an increase in the number of daily border crossings and that this increase could be as large as a threefold increase to 18,000 daily border crossings.” , he wrote. “The record also includes evidence supporting the requesting states’ position that such an increase in border crossings will increase their costs of reimbursing health care and education services. These costs are not recoverable.”
Since the Trump administration enacted Title 42 in March 2020, nearly 2 million migrants — including asylum seekers who have the legal right to seek protection in the United States — have been turned away at the border. south as part of the policy, according to the Migration Policy Institute. Despite pressure from some Democrats and immigrant rights groups, the Biden administration kept it in place for more than a year before trying to end the program. The policy was changed in March to exclude unaccompanied minors.
Summerhays’ decision comes as the Texas-Mexico border continues to see near-record crossings of undocumented immigrants.
Since the start of the current exercise in October, U.S. Border Patrol agents have encountered more than 287,000 migrants in the Rio Grande Valley sector and more than 236,000 in the Del Rio sector, statistics show. customs and border protection. In the El Paso area, which also includes New Mexico, officers encountered more than 143,000.
Texas Republicans and some border Democrats, including U.S. Representatives Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo and Vicente Gonzalez, D-McAllen, said lifting the policy would have resulted in even higher numbers of unauthorized crossings. But immigrant rights groups and immigration lawyers have argued that rather than real health policy, Title 42 has instead been used as a tool to deny migrants a chance to have their day. before the courts without due process.
The planned end of Title 42 prompted Governor Greg Abbott to impose more border restrictions as part of his controversial Operation Lone Star border security operation. They included the Public Safety Department’s short-lived inspections of commercial vehicles at border crossings that stalled trade and cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars in lost business revenue.
On Friday, Abbott also activated the Joint Border Security Operations Center, which he described in a statement as a coordinated response to “secure the border in view of President Biden’s reckless decision to halt Title 42 deportations. “.