US judge blocks Biden’s plan to end Title 42 border evictions | Migration News

A judge in the United States has blocked the Biden administration’s plan to end a controversial immigration policy that would allow US authorities to reject most asylum seekers arriving at the country’s southern border with Mexico. .

US District Judge Robert Summerhays issued a nationwide injunction Friday banning the administration of US President Joe Biden from lifting the policy known as Title 42. It was expected to be withdrawn on May 23.

“That means Title 42 won’t end anytime soon,” Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, senior policy advisor at the American Immigration Council, tweeted about the Louisiana judge’s decision.

The ruling comes after two dozen US states sued the Biden administration over its plan, arguing that Title 42 should be left in place because proper attention was not paid to the likely increase in border crossings and other problems.

The administration of former US President Donald Trump first invoked Title 42 in March 2020 when COVID-19 swept across the country, arguing that it was intended to help prevent the spread of the virus.

But last month, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the measure was “no longer necessary,” and the Department of Homeland Security said it would end its use at the border.

More than 1.9 million subtitle 42 evictions have been made since the restriction was introduced, with the vast majority of asylum seekers being quickly returned to Mexico or their country of origin without the chance to apply for asylum in the US.

Rights advocates and immigration experts have called on the Biden administration to end the use of Title 42, which they say violates US and international law and puts already vulnerable asylum seekers at risk of being kidnapped. , torture, rape and other violence in Mexico.

Human rights groups denounce Friday’s ruling as an affront to the right to seek asylum.

“This lawsuit only serves to prevent vulnerable families and children who face unspeakable violence, persecution and exploitation from exercising their legal right to seek asylum,” said Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, president of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS). ), a resettlement agency. †

“Beyond the devastating humanitarian impact of Title 42, the ruling also fails to recognize established national and international law. Seeking asylum is a legal right, and yet this foundation of the American justice system is rapidly crumbling at a time of unprecedented need,” Vignanajah said in a statement.

Asylum seekers hug at US-Mexico border wall
Rights groups have denounced Title 42 as a violation of US and international law [File: Go Nakamura/Reuters]

Al Otro Lado, a migrant support and advocacy group working in the southern US and Mexico, also denounced the decision as an extension of suffering at the border.

“Parents send their children across the border only to save their lives. This is #Title42 + its extension means only infinite suffering,” the group said said on Twitter.

“Title 42 has done tremendous damage to those seeking safety. Continuing to manipulate this public health law is beyond cruel,” said the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said

For their part, several Republican officials hailed the ruling, painting it as a setback to Biden’s immigration plans, which they say aim to weaken border security.

Senator Bill Cassidy, who represents Louisiana, invoked his support for the appointment of Judge Summerhays under former President Trump to welcome the decision.

“A judge in Louisiana just halted Biden’s disastrous plan to exacerbate the border crisis by revoking Title 42. We need to give Border Patrol the tools they need to secure the border, not take them away,” he wrote on Twitter. “Proud to say I supported Judge Summerhays’ nomination.”

“Our request to prevent the Biden administration from revoking Title 42 has just been granted by a federal judge,” Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares tweeted, adding that it was “a HUGE victory for securing our border “.

The Biden administration has not immediately commented on the judge’s ruling, but is expected to appeal.

Biden has faced mounting political pressure from Republicans and even some members of his Democratic Party over title 42, especially as the country prepares for crucial midterm elections in November.

But rights advocates have also criticized the US president and his Democratic party for failing to overthrow some of his predecessor’s harsh anti-immigration policies, despite holding a slim majority in Congress. .

“President Biden could have ended Title 42 and all Trump’s inhumane and immoral policies once he took office in January 2021,” Tami Goodlette, process director at RAICES, a Texas legal immigration agency, said in a statement. statement shared by the group on Twitter.

“Instead, he surrounded himself with centrist advisers who coddled his fears about immigration reform and embraced deterrence as their central immigration priority.”

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