Judge orders Biden to stop deporting migrants under Trump-era health law

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A person stands beside the US-Mexico border fence painted with a mural depicting people who came to the United States illegally as children and deported as adults on July 22, 2021 in Tijuana, Mexico .

Mario Tama | Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday barred the Biden administration from exercising a Trump-era policy that allows the United States to expel migrants quickly without giving them the opportunity to seek asylum.

This provision of U.S. health law, known as Title 42, was first implemented in March 2020 around the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Critics accused the Trump administration of using it as a pretext to effectively close the country’s borders.

The Biden administration, however, renewed the policy last month, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announcement that the measure would remain in effect until the risk of people who are not U.S. citizens introducing Covid by crossing borders with Mexico and Canada “has ceased to be a serious danger to public health.”

More than 1.1 million migrants have been deported under Title 42 since the policy came into effect at the start of the pandemic, according to data from US Customs and Border Protection.

Under Trump, more than 444,000 migrants were returned using the law. Since Biden took office in January, more than 690,000 migrants have been deported via Title 42.

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Washington-based US District Judge Emmet Sullivan on Thursday granted a preliminary injunction ending the policy, saying plaintiffs in the case challenging the law have “shown a likelihood of irreparable harm.”

Sullivan’s order will go into effect in 14 days, to give the federal government time to consider an appeal.

The White House referred CNBC to the Justice Department for comment on the decision. The DOJ did not immediately comment.

“President Biden should have ended this cruel and lawless policy a long time ago, and the court was right to reject it today,” said Omar Jadwat, director of the Immigrant Rights Project. American Civil Liberties Union, in a Press release.

Minority Parliamentary Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., In a tweet called on Biden to appeal Sullivan’s decision.

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