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Court gives Biden admin. 5 weeks to end Title 42 rule expelling migrants

A federal court has given the Biden administration until Dec. 21 to roll back Title 42, a policy that allowed the expulsion of migrants based on COVID-19 health concerns. File Photo by Ariana Drehsler/UPI
A federal court has given the Biden administration until Dec. 21 to roll back Title 42, a policy that allowed the expulsion of migrants based on COVID-19 health concerns. File Photo by Ariana Drehsler/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 16 (UPI) -- A federal court has given the Biden administration until Dec. 21 to wind down its use of Title 42 to expel migrants after striking down the provision on Tuesday.

The policy was instituted by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) under the Trump administration at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic to slow the spread of the disease.

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Title 42 has been used 2.5 million times to expel migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border, with 80% of the expulsions taking place under the Biden administration.

The removal of migrants under the policy was classified as "expulsion" rather than a "deportation," meaning arrivals removed under Title 42 were not allowed to appeal the decision or be seen by a judge. Advocates argued it was used arbitrarily as a pretext to expel migrants without due process.

RELATED Federal judge stops Trump-era Title 42 rule used to reject migrants

"We have said all along that using Title 42 against asylum seekers was inhumane and driven purely by politics. Hopefully this ruling will end this horrific policy once and for all," ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt said in a statement.

In April, the Biden administration announced plans to roll back Title 42, but they were blocked by a federal judge in Louisiana.

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Nearly 6,000 Venezuelan migrants were expelled in October after the Biden Administration expanded Title 42 to include migrants from the troubled nation.

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U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan ruled that Title 42 was "arbitrary and capricious in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act," which gives federal courts oversight of all agency actions. Sullivan also faulted the CDC for using the policy at a time when COVID-19 was already prevalent in the United States.

After Title 42 was struck down, the Biden administration requested a stay to give them time to implement the change. In its filing, the Department of Justice said the Department of Homeland Security "will need to move additional resources to the border and coordinate with stakeholders, including non-governmental organizations and state and local governments, to help prepare for the transition."

Sullivan announced on Wednesday that he would, "with great reluctance," allow five weeks for the policy to be rolled back.

RELATED Biden admin. to allow 24K Venezuelans to enter U.S.

The ruling means that after Dec. 21 migrants can no longer be expelled under the pretext of COVID-19-related health concerns.

"While the stay is in effect, DHS will continue to process individuals in accordance with the CDC's Title 42 public health order and expel single adults and family united encountered at the Southwest Border," the department said in a statement following the court's Wednesday order.

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The department was quick to remind potential asylum seekers not to trust human smugglers who will seek to take advantage of them and put their lives at risk.

"The border is closed," the department said, "and we will continue to fully enforce our immigration laws at the border."

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