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Judge blocks Biden administration from expelling migrant families due to COVID-19

Asylum seekers wait in line for food near El Chaparral plaza in Tijuana, Mexico on March 21. Photo by Ariana Drehsler/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 16 (UPI) -- A federal judge on Thursday ordered the Biden administration to stop expelling migrant families entering the United States due to COVID-19 fears.

The Title 42 policy was enacted by former President Donald Trump in March 2020 with the stated purpose of preventing those who cross the border illegally from potentially spreading the novel coronavirus. Unaccompanied minors are not expelled under Title 42 after a change in policy in February.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, under President Joe Biden, extended the policy last month with plans to review it every 60 days.

District Judge Emmett Sullivan of the District of Columbia ruled Thursday, though, that the Biden administration should be able to mitigate the threat of the spread of the virus by migrants.

"The government has successfully implemented mitigation measures with regard to processing unaccompanied minors in order to minimize risk of COVID-19 transmission," Sullivan wrote.

The American Civil Liberties Union, whose lawsuit led to the ruling, welcomed the news.

"The policy, initiated under Trump, unlawfully strips people of the right to seek asylum by expelling them without a hearing under the guise of public health," the organization tweeted Thursday.

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The U.S. government has expelled more than 1.13 million people at the southwest border since March 2020 under Title 42, according to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

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