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What is Title 42? Federal judge blocks Joe Biden from using Trump-era border policy to expel migrants

Title 42 was first invoked by Donald Trump in 2020, giving Border Patrol agents the authority to expel migrants trying to enter US
Judge Emmet Sullivan has blocked the Joe Biden administration from expelling migrants (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images and Wikimedia)
Judge Emmet Sullivan has blocked the Joe Biden administration from expelling migrants (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images and Wikimedia)

WASHINGTON, DC: A federal judge, Emmet Sullivan, on Tuesday, November 15, blocked Title 42 – a controversial rule that has allowed US authorities to expel more than a million migrants who crossed the US-Mexico border.

Judge Sullivan of the US District Court for the District of Columbia found the title to be “arbitrary and capricious in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act,” reports CNN. In a 49-page opinion, Sullivan said "the CDC failed to apply the least restrictive means standard when authorizing the policy; thepolicy does not rationally serve its stated purpose in view of the alternatives; and the CDC failed to consider the harm the policy would inflict on impacted individuals." The opinion further stated that CDC failed to properly explain the rationale for authorizing an unprecedented expulsion authority, as opposed to implementing less drastic measures to mitigate Covid concerns, such as vaccinations and monoclonal antibodies. 


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Sullivan also said the CDC "failed to consider the harm to migrants subject to expulsion," citing reports warning that migrants could be persecuted or otherwise victimized in Mexico and elsewhere after being expelled from the US. He wrote, "It is unreasonable for the CDC to assume that it can ignore the consequences of any actions it chooses to take in the pursuit of fulfilling its goals, particularly when those actions included the extraordinary decision to suspend the codified procedural and substantive rights of non-citizens seeking safe harbor."

Following the ruling, according to CBS, President Joe Biden's administration lawyers asked Sullivan to hold his ruling for five weeks till December 21, stating operational concerns being led by ending Title 42 abruptly and the need for an "orderly transition." The Justice Department lawyers said, "This transition period is critical to ensuring that DHS can continue to carry out its mission to secure the Nation's borders and to conduct its border operations in an orderly fashion."

Governor of Texas Greg Abbott tweeted, "This will further signal to cartels, human smugglers, & illegal immigrants that the border is wide open—inciting more violence & lawlessness. Disastrous."


What is Title 42?

Title 42 is part of the Public Health Service Act of 1944 aimed at preventing the spread of communicable diseases in the country, while under US immigration law, individuals have a legal right to claim asylum when presenting at ports of entry or if apprehended between ports of entry, states KFF. According to Pew Research Centre, the CDC invoked Title 42, first invoked by Donald Trump in 2020, at the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak in March 2020, giving Border Patrol agents the authority to expel migrants trying to enter the US. Migrants expelled from the US under Title 42 are returned to their home country or most recent transit country.

After the ruling, many showed concern with one writing, "Title 42 was just ENDED and a new SURGE of illegals will now head for our southern border. PRAY for our brave Border Patrol agents, it's a SHAME that Biden won't lift a finger to support them. 49 days until we can STOP THE MADNESS in the House Majority!" Another wrote, "An activist judge legislating from the bench just blocked the usage of Title 42 at the border amid a historic crisis. This means millions of illegal aliens (many dangerous) will be allowed entry into the country. This decision is a grave mistake." While some celebrated with one commenting, "Finally!!! Title 42, a shameful CDC order that was started by Trump & extended by Biden, has been voided. This rule has allowed border agents to expel one million asylum seekers without a fair hearing under the false pretense of public health."




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