Federal judge expected to rule on Title 42 lawsuit in days as border crisis continues

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A federal judge is expected to determine the fate of the Biden administration’s plan to lift Title 42 within days in response to a lawsuit filed by two dozen state Republicans that claims lifting the public health order will result in a more serious crisis on the southern border.

Judge Robert Summerhays of the Western District of Louisiana heard arguments on Friday regarding the request for a preliminary injunction on the Biden administration’s plan to end Title 42 on May 23.

The public health order, enacted in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has been used by the Trump and Biden administrations to deport a majority of migrants at the southern border.

FEDERAL JUDGE EXTENDS ORDER RESTRICTING BIDEN ADMINISTRATION FROM RETURNING TITLE 42 BEFORE HEARING

A US Border Patrol agent talks to immigrants before transporting some of them to a processing center in Yuma, Arizona on December 9, 2021.
(John Moore/Getty Images)

Republicans and some Democrats have warned that the already massive number of migrants encountered at the border could increase if the order is lifted. It will also lead to the release of many more migrants in the country, they say. The Department of Homeland Security has acknowledged the possibility, saying it is preparing to accommodate up to 18,000 migrants a day once the order is placed.

States led by Arizona, Missouri and Louisiana sued, saying the Centers for Disease Control’s decision to lift the order violated the Administrative Procedures Act, which requires a notice and comment period and also prohibits decisions deemed “arbitrary and capricious”.

The lawsuit claims the administration failed to estimate or account for the costs to the states. They cite “increased health care costs for foreigners infected with COVID-19 and the cost of increased illegal immigration caused by the termination order and the presence of a much higher number of paroled aliens with non-meritorious asylum claims who were induced to enter the United States because of the termination order.”

“This lawsuit challenges an impending, man-made, self-inflicted catastrophe: the abrupt removal of the only safety valve preventing this administration’s disastrous border policies from turning into an all-out catastrophe,” the lawsuit states.

REPUBLICAN STATES SUIT TO STOP LIFT OF TITLE 42 BORDER POLICY BY BIDEN ADMINISTRATION

States are seeking a preliminary injunction, but have already scored smaller victories in a related push for a temporary restraining order to stop the Biden administration from backing away from Title 42 evictions and instead using a deportation accelerated as the May 23 date approaches.

Summerhays granted the temporary restraining order last month and extended it earlier this week.

Lawyers for the Justice Department argued Friday that the CDC was within its authority to lift an emergency health restriction that it said was no longer warranted at this stage of the pandemic, reiterating that Title 42 is a health policy and not an immigration measure.

“There’s no reason to use Title 42 as a safety valve,” DOJ’s Jean Lin told Summerhays.

Activists on the right and left believe Summerhays, a Trump nominee, will likely rule in favor of the Republicans who sued, meaning Title 42 will remain in place as the busy summer months on the border arrive.

There were more than 221,000 migrant encounters in March, and that number is expected to have increased in April. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has yet to release numbers for April.

INTERNAL CBP DOC WARNS OF ‘SIGNIFICANT SECURITY IMPLICATIONS’ OF RISE OF TITLE 42 AND CARTEL IN CENTRAL AMERICA

“The Biden administration cares little about maintaining public safety and even less about following administrative procedures,” Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said in a statement after the arguments. “Our coalition of state attorneys general will continue to fight to preserve Title 42 in hopes of maintaining some accountability and common sense on our southern border.”

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich
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Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich
(FoxNews)

Several immigrant activist groups have petitioned Summerhays to allow Title 42 to be lifted as planned in California and New Mexico, two states not included in the lawsuit. But Republican states have sought an injunction that would be enforced nationwide because of the policy’s national implications.

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Such a move could relieve the Biden administration of a difficult political situation. He faces pressure from Republicans as well as moderate Democrats, some of whom are in close re-election races, who signed legislation to delay the title 42 until 60 days after the CDC ended the national emergency. .

Meanwhile, the Biden administration has touted its plan to increase resources at the border and move more migrants to expedited removal. So far, that doesn’t seem to have swayed many moderate Democrats on the issue.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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