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A federal judge Friday temporarily blocked the Biden administration from ending its Title 42 public health order on May 23 — halting the administration’s move that had seen significant Republican and Democratic opposition, fearing it would exacerbate the border crisis.
Justice Robert Summerhays, in the western district of Louisiana, issued a preliminary injunction on May 23 over the Biden administration’s plan to end the injunction. It was in response to a lawsuit from two dozen Republican states led by Arizona, Louisiana and Missouri.
“Today’s ruling is a significant victory as Title 42 is one of the few policies that actually work,” Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said. “I am grateful to the court for upholding the rule of law and helping maintain a certain level of sanity as we continue to fight the Biden-induced border crisis.”
FEDERAL JUDGE EXTENDS ORDER BLOCKING BIDEN ADMIN OF RETURN TITLE 42 FOR HEARING
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced in April that the order, which has been used since March 2020 to evict a majority of migrants on the southern border due to the COVID-19 pandemic, would expire at the end of May.
“After considering current public health conditions and increased availability of tools to fight COVID-19 (such as highly effective vaccines and therapies), the CDC director has determined that an order suspending the right to enter migrants in the United States is no longer necessary,” the agency said.
The move sparked outrage from both Democrats and Republicans, who warned the move would increase illegal immigration at the border and release more people to the US.
DHS has acknowledged these concerns and says it plans up to 18,000 people per day. However, it has also said it believes it will reduce the number of people at the border over time as it reintroduces criminal penalties for repeated border crossings.
A number of moderate Democrats joined Republicans in signing legislation that will prevent the government from lifting the order until 60 days after the CDC says the national COVID-19 emergency is over. The legislation has not yet been voted on in the Senate.
INTERNAL CBP DOC WARNS OF ‘SIGNIFICANT SECURITY IMLICATIONS’ FROM TITLE 42 LIFT, CARTEL HOLD ON CENTRAL AMERICA
The Republican lawsuit, which sought the injunction, alleged that the waiver of the injunction violated the Administrative Procedure Act, which requires a notice and comment period and also blocks movements deemed “arbitrary and erratic.”
The lawsuit alleges that the administration failed to estimate or account for the costs to the states. They cite “increased health care costs for aliens infected with COVID-19 and the costs of increased illegal immigration caused by the termination order and the presence of much larger numbers of released aliens with undeserved asylum applications who were incited to enter the United States.” to come in.” because of the termination order.”
“This lawsuit challenges an impending man-made, self-inflicted disaster: the abrupt elimination of the only safety valve that prevents this administration’s disastrous border policy from turning into an outright catastrophe.” read the complaint†
Summerhays said in his order that the record supports the states’ position “that the termination order will lead to more border crossings and that, based on government estimates, the increase could be threefold.” He also agreed with states that lifting Title 42 will increase health care and education costs — and said the government did not dispute that claim.
“Basically, the plaintiffs have demonstrated that the termination order will affect their ‘quasi-sovereign’ interests based on the impact on their health care systems and their interest in the health and well-being of their citizens,” he said.
The judge also agreed with the states that the waiver of Title 42 was subject to the ACA and that the government did not lift “the presumption of testability under the APA.”
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt declared the victory, saying the states had “got another major victory against the Biden administration and received a preliminary injunction, leaving Title 42 in place.”
“With the illegal fentanyl and human trafficking flowing through the porous southern border, every state is now a border state. My office will continue to fight to secure our border and protect Missouri residents and Americans,” he said.
Florida AG Ashley Moody said in a statement to Fox News Digital that the ruling was “a major victory for the safety and security of our nation.”
“Proud of our efforts to keep title 42 in place,” said Moody. “It’s a sad reality that a court has to force this president to do his job and protect the American people.”
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Summerhays, a Trump nominee, was widely seen as likely to issue the injunction, especially as he had issued a temporary restraining order preventing the Department of Homeland Security from moving from Title 42 to removing migrants through a process called instead ” accelerated removal”.
The Justice Department is expected to appeal the federal court’s ruling, and the Supreme Court may be asked to intervene with an emergency injunction, but that may not happen in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, the number of migrants found on the southern border has remained at levels not seen in decades. There were more than 234,000 encounters with migrants in April, compared to 178,000 in April 2021 and just 17,106 in April 2020.
Bill Mears of Fox News contributed to this report.