A federal court on Friday prevented the US government from suspending COVID-19 limits, which let border officials to send back migrants without giving them the opportunity to claim asylum.
The worldwide injunction ordered by U.S. District Judge Robert Summerhays in Louisiana means that the limits, which were slated to cease on May 23, will stay in place as the case progresses, unless the judgment is overturned by a higher court. The Department of Justice (DOJ) has stated that it would file an appeal.
The Title 42 pandemic limitations were implemented in March 2020, during the administration of former Republican President Donald Trump, an immigration hardliner. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) argued at the time that it was necessary to prevent the coronavirus from spreading in overcrowded border facilities.
Since then, almost a million migrants captured at the border have been quickly deported to Mexico or other nations, often within hours of being detained.
Judge Summerhays, a Trump appointment, said that maintaining the Title 42 order in place “would serve the public interest” and that a worldwide injunction was required due to immigrants’ capacity to freely relocate from one state to another.
Republicans and some members of his own party have criticized Democratic President Joe Biden’s decision to suspend Title 42, fearing that stopping the expulsions will increase the already-high number of migrant crossings.
The expulsions, according to medical professionals, the UN, and other Democrats, put vulnerable migrants in risk and were not founded on evidence.
The White House said it disagreed with the court’s decision but would follow it pending an appeal by the Department of Justice.
“The Centers for Disease Control, not a single district court, should have the ability to define national public health policy,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.
Due to greater availability of vaccinations and other methods, the CDC said last month that Title 42 was no longer required to combat COVID-19.
However, a group of two dozen states led by Arizona, Louisiana, and Missouri, all of which have Republican attorneys general, sued to keep the policy in place.
The court concluded the states’ allegation that the CDC failed to take required regulatory processes when it tried to terminate Title 42 had a “substantial possibility of success.” Attorney General Mark Brnovich hailed the decision as a “major victory.”
Thousands of migrants in Mexican border communities have been waiting for the ban to be lifted so they may begin the process of claiming asylum in the United States. A group of migrants gathered outside the US embassy in Tijuana on Friday to express their dissatisfaction.
“We’re here with our vaccination cards and negative COVID-19 tests to verify that we don’t have this disease,” said Mexican asylum seeker Juan Carlos Guzman, who said he left the violent state of Guanajuato after his son was slain by an organized criminal organization.
The judge’s judgment was swiftly criticised by advocates. A separate court decision prevents the Biden administration from deporting families to countries where they may be persecuted or tortured.