A federal judge on Friday prevented the White House from shutting down Title 42, a border policy implemented during the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic. Officials say the order has successfully turned back migrants nearly two million times.
The Trump administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began the policy in 2020. Title 42 enables officials to quickly expel migrants at the border without going through asylum procedures.
However, the CDC last month announced the order’s end on May 23. Officials cite the pandemic’s decline along with greater access to vaccines for their decision.
This spawned a bipartisan uproar, especially in states along or near the southern border. The Department of Homeland Security admits that it is readying for as many as 18,000 border crossers each day when the policy ends.
U.S. District Court Judge Robert Summerhays granted a preliminary injunction after 24 states challenged its rollback. He further ruled that a national injunction, instead of one limited to the states bringing legal action, is needed.
The 47-page decision notes the ability of immigrants to move freely from one state to another, and that would likely lead to border crossings being shifted to states not affected by a limited injunction. The ruling also cites the CDC’s failure to allow for public input before ending the program.
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich declared at least a temporary victory, saying “Title 42 is one of the few policies that is actually working.”
The response from the Biden administration is far different. In a statement, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the Department of Justice will appeal the decision. She further asserts that public health policy is in the bounds of the CDC and not a single district court.
Jean-Pierre adds, however, that the administration respects the injunction and will continue to enforce Title 42. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus immediately decried the ruling as “outrageous” and “ridiculous.”
That being said, the issue is hardly as cut-and-dried as the far left believes.
Some observers see the ruling as a relief on both sides. The GOP gets to declare a temporary victory in upholding the policy. Also, the administration does not have the headache of the anticipated border crossings of tens of thousands of migrants and the political pressure it would bring.