News: The court rejects Republican states’ request to continue Title 42 border expulsions pending appeal
On Friday, a federal appeals court denied an effort by several Republican-led states to maintain a Trump-era public health order requiring migrants to be deported immediately at the border.
U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan had previously set a December 21 deadline for the protocols to be terminated. The decision by the appeals court in Washington, D.C., keeps the deadline in place for the time being, but the states are expected to appeal to the United States Supreme Court.
In response to the appeals court decision, White House Assistant Press Secretary Abdullah Hasan emphasized the administration’s preparations for border management once Title 42 expires.
“To be clear, lifting the Title 42 public health order does not imply that the border is open,” Hasan said in a statement. “Anyone who suggests otherwise is assisting smugglers in spreading misinformation in order to profit from vulnerable migrants.”
“We will continue to fully enforce our immigration laws and work to expand legal migration pathways while discouraging disorderly and dangerous migration,” Hasan said. “When Title 42 is lifted as required by a court order, we will make a concerted effort to manage the border in a safe, orderly, and humane manner. Instead of playing political games, Republicans should provide the funding requested by the President for border security and management, as well as pass the comprehensive immigration reform measures he proposed, so that we can finally have a modernized immigration system that works.”
PHOTO: On December 14, 2022, migrants cross the US-Mexico border from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
On December 14, 2022, migrants cross the US-Mexico border from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
Christian Chavez/Associated Press
Title 42 began in the early days of the global pandemic and has since been used to deport migrants from the southern border more than 2.4 million times. Access to asylum and other humanitarian protections is severely limited due to the rapid nature of the expulsions, which typically take place in a matter of hours.
The ACLU and other civil liberties advocates have been fighting the order in court, claiming it violates federal and international law.
MORE: A surge of migrants at the southern border prompts increased enforcement
“These states are simply being hypocritical,” said ACLU lead attorney Lee Gelernt, according to ABC News. “Since the beginning, they have been fighting to end COVID restrictions everywhere. And now they want a public health restriction that only applies to asylum seekers. The real game here, I believe, is that they are attempting to close the border.”
The decision comes as the Department of Homeland Security puts new measures in place to apprehend and process migrants across the Southwest. According to the department, nearly 1,000 Border Patrol agents have been hired specifically for processing, along with 2,500 additional contractors and personnel. Since President Joe Biden took office, the DHS has also built ten new tent-like facilities.
Critics say the administration’s efforts are insufficient to deal with the unprecedented level of migration into the United States over the last year. Meanwhile, those who support the repeal of Title 42 protocols argue that it is contributing to the bottleneck of needed humanitarian aid at the border.
MORE: Republican-led states and the Biden administration clash over lifting Title 42 border policy on May 23.
El Paso has seen an influx of migrants in recent days, with the US Border Patrol apprehending 2,264 people per day on average this month, according to a CBP official. This is an increase from the previously high level of 1,700 to 1,800 per day.
PHOTO: On December 14, 2022, migrants gather near the border wall after crossing the Rio Bravo river to turn themselves in to US Border Patrol agents to seek asylum in the US city of El Paso, Texas, as seen from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
As seen from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, migrants gather near the border wall after crossing the Rio Bravo river to turn themselves in to US Border Patrol agents to request asylum in the US city of El Paso, Texas…Show more
Reuters/Jose Luis Gonzalez
There are a half-dozen major sectors along the southwest border, with a high of 2,200 in one area. This fiscal year, the USBP made a record 2.2 million arrests along the southern border. According to the most recent available data from October, USBP is on track to meet or exceed that total, with over 204,000 arrests that month.