Washington, May 20 (EFE).- A United States judge on Friday blocked the plan of President Joe Biden’s administration to lift Title 42, the regulation used to expel undocumented immigrants during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced weeks ago the end of Title 42 for May 23, but Louisiana judge Robert Summerhays suspended preparations to rescind it and on Friday definitively annulled its lifting.
Title 42 is a rapid deportation measure for undocumented immigrants that the CDC imposed in 2020 during the term of Donald Trump to stop the spread of Covid-19, and that has remained in force under the Biden administration.
That measure means that the US automatically deports most undocumented immigrants who arrive at its southern border, without giving them the opportunity to apply for asylum.
Early last month, the CDC announced it would lift that rule as there was no health risk at the border, which relieved critical human rights organizations, but caused concern in some border communities about the possibility of many migrants arriving at once.
Nominated by Trump, Judge Summerhays suspended the ending of Title 42 in response to the demands of Republican leaders of several states, such as Arizona, Louisiana and Missouri, to stop the White House plan.
Summerhays last month cited impacts on “healthcare, law enforcement, detention, education, and other services” that he said would be caused by ending Title 42.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Friday the administration “disagrees with the court’s ruling, and the Department of Justice has announced that it will appeal this decision.”
“The authority to set public health policy nationally should rest with the Centers for Disease Control, not with a single district court,” she said, adding it would comply with the court’s injunction, pending appeal.
Alianza Americas, a coalition of 55 migrant-led groups in 18 states, condemned this decision and called on Congress to vote against any amendment that would codify Title 42 into law.
“Title 42 was never about protecting public health. It was about eliminating the possibility of asylum for people who cross the border by foot, fleeing instability and violence resulting from multiple factors, including US policies,” said Helena Olea, associate director of programs at Alianza Americas.
Since it began in March 2020, the US has used Title 42 more than 1.8 million times to expel undocumented migrants to Mexico or their countries of origin without allowing them to apply for asylum, according to government data.
It is not the first judicial setback against Biden’s immigration policy, since a judge has already suspended his attempt to end the Remain in Mexico program established by Trump to force asylum seekers to wait in Mexican territory. EF