US District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan blocked on Thursday the Biden administration from expelling migrant families arriving at the US southern border by using Trump-era public health order, Politico reports.
Judge Sullivan ruled that Title 42 policy, issued in March 2020 by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, does not authorize the expulsion of migrants nor allows for those removed to be denied the opportunity to seek asylum in the United States.
Yet, his order only applies to families so the Biden administration can continue to expel single adults only since unaccompanied children are already exempted from being expelled using Title 42.
The ruling that will go into effect in 14 days is a major victory for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) led the legal challenge demanding Biden administration to stop using the public health authority to expel migrant families.
ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project’s director Omar Jadwat stressed that President Biden should have ended this cruel and lawless policy long ago.
The immigrant advocates, human rights organizations and asylum seekers have long claimed that Title 42 use is unlawful, inhumane and not justified by public health.
The ACLU negotiations with the Biden administration that has put its lawsuit on hold for months fell apart early last month when CDC issued an updated order saying there is still a public health justification for expelling migrants which can remain in effect indefinitely.
More than 16,200 families were expelled using the Title 42 order in August. That is roughly 19% of th 86,000 families that the US Customs and Border Protection agents have apprehended at the US-Mexico border last month.
After the Supreme Court issued an order last month effectively forcing Biden to restore the controversial Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” policy, Biden administration is in talks with Mexico that has been increasingly resistant in recent months to accepting families expelled from the US under Title 42.