WASHINGTON – A judge on Thursday ordered the Biden administration to stop expelling migrant families with children under a public health policy that allows migrants to be turned away from the United States to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in holding facilities.
The order was issued by District Judge Emmet Sullivan of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Sullivan's ruling will take effect in 14 days.
Shortly after the injunction was issued, White House press secretary Jen Psaki pointed to the Department of Justice for comment.
“We’re focused on taking steps to address the root causes of migration, implement orderly asylum processes, strengthen collaborative migration management efforts in the region, and effectively secure our borders,” Psaki said. “We've made considerable progress on that front.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in August indefinitely extended Title 42, saying it "shall remain in effect until the CDC Director determines that the danger of further introduction of COVID-19 into the United States from covered noncitizens has ceased to be a serious danger to the public health, and the Order is no longer necessary to protect the public health."
Title 42 allows Customs and Border Protection officials to expel undocumented migrants to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in holding facilities. Children and some families are already exempt from the policy.
Sullivan's ruling is a big win for immigrant rights organizations who have called on the Biden administration to end the use of Title 42, which started under former President Donald Trump's administration.
Under international and federal law, individuals coming to the United States should be allowed to apply for asylum. However, immigrant rights activists and experts have argued that Title 42 does not allow people the right to apply for asylum.
The American Civil Liberties Union and other immigrant rights organizations in August resumed a lawsuit that was filed under the Trump administration challenging the Title 42 policy.
There has been a large increase of migrant children, families and adults coming to the U.S.-Mexico border over the past several months. The Biden administration has turned away the majority of people coming to the United States by using the Title 42 policy.
The Biden administration has also implemented some policies to continue to remove some migrant families who were exempt from Title 42. During the summer, the Department of Homeland Security announced certain family units who can't be expelled under Title 42 will now be placed in expedited removal proceedings.
Reach Rebecca Morin at Twitter @RebeccaMorin_