A federal appeals court in Washington, DC ruled Thursday that the Biden administration could resume use of Title 42, a Trump-era public health provision that would allow authorities to expedite illegal immigrants crossing the border due to concerns for COVID-19. Pestilence.
The court granted a temporary restraining order after Biden officials appealed the decision of U.S. District Judge Emmett Sullivan, who decided that it was illegal to use the administration’s Title 42 to expel families. Sullivan had ordered the government to stop using Title 42 by the end of the month, though his verdict would not apply to individuals.
The Court of Appeal ruling means that the Biden administration will be able to enforce Title 42 to expel immigrants. Federal officials have argued the move is necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19 amid an unprecedented rise in border crossings, but immigration activists say it is unnecessary and harms families seeking asylum.
“If the Biden administration really wants to treat the asylum seekers humanely, it must now end this lawlessness policy and withdraw its appeal,” said ACLU lawyer Lee Gelent. “We will continue to fight to end this illegal policy.”
Earlier this month, the Biden administration cited Title 42 to expel thousands of Haitian refugees from their homes in Del Rio, Texas. The move has come under heavy criticism from immigration activists and some Democratic lawmakers.
Customs and Border Protection reported more than 200,000 migrant encounters in August on the southern border, an increase of 317% compared to the previous year. In total, 93,414 immigrants, or more than 44%, were expelled under the Title 42 provision.
Title 42 was first introduced in March 2020 under former President Donald Trump. Republican lawmakers, including Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, have argued that the move should be perpetuated amid a rise in delta mutations and other COVID-19 cases.
LBL Bill Myers and the Associated Press contributed to this report.