United States

Judge Orders Biden Administration to Stop Expelling Migrants Under Trump-Era Health Law

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  • A federal judge blocked the Biden administration from exercising a Trump-era policy that allows the U.S. to quickly expel migrants without giving them the chance to apply for asylum.
  • That provision of U.S. health law, known as Title 42, was first implemented in March 2020 around the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The Biden administration, however, renewed the policy last month.

A federal judge Thursday blocked the Biden administration from exercising a Trump-era policy that allows the U.S. to quickly expel migrants without giving them the chance to apply for asylum.

That provision of U.S. health law, known as Title 42, was first implemented in March 2020 around the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Critics accused the Trump administration of using it as a pretext to effectively shutter the nation's borders.

The Biden administration, however, renewed the policy last month, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that the measure would stay in effect until the risk of people who aren't U.S. citizens introducing Covid by crossing the borders with Mexico and Canada "has ceased to be a serious danger to the public health."

More than 1.1 million migrants have been expelled under Title 42 since the policy went into effect at the start of the pandemic, according to data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Under Trump, more than 444,000 migrants were sent back using the law. Since Biden took office in January, more than 690,000 migrants have been expelled through Title 42.

Washington-based U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan on Thursday granted a preliminary injunction halting the policy, saying the plaintiffs in the case challenging the law have "shown a likelihood of suffering irreparable harm."

Sullivan's order will go into effect in 14 days, to give the federal government time to consider an appeal.

The White House referred CNBC to the Department of Justice for comment on the ruling. The DOJ did not immediately provide comment.

"President Biden should have ended this cruel and lawless policy long ago, and the court was correct to reject it today," said Omar Jadwat, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Immigrants' Rights Project, in a press release.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., in a tweet called on Biden to appeal Sullivan's ruling.

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