A federal judge blocked the enforcement of Title 42, a controversial border security rule that allowed for the immediate removal of any immigrant attempting to illegally enter the country through the southern border. The measure allowed officials to remove more than 1 million people without being interviewed by an immigration officer.
This public health rule established under the Trump Administration is one of the restrictions implemented to prevent the spread of the coronavirus by preventing the entry of infected persons into the country. By April 2022 -now under the Biden Administration- the end of the policy was approved. However, weeks later, a Louisiana judge ruled in favor of keeping it in place on a temporary basis .
An "arbitrary and capricious" measure
In Washington, Judge Emmet Sullivan overturned the measure Tuesday. It also described it as "arbitrary and capricious" in violation of the Administrative Procedure Law and ruled that it should be terminated immediately for families and adults. The rule did not apply to children traveling unaccompanied by an adult.
The judge asserted that Title 42 did not serve its purpose because covid-19 had already spread to several states across the country. According to Lee Gelernt, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU):
Title 42 was never about public health, and this ruling finally puts an end to the farce of using Title 42 to prevent desperate asylum seekers from even getting a hearing.
Within hours, the Department of Justice (DOJ) asked the judge to allow his order to go into effect on December 21, filing a motion to stay the decision for five weeks to give it time to "prepare for an orderly transition to the new policies at the border."
We continue to work with countries throughout the Western Hemisphere to take action against the smuggling networks that tempt migrants to make the dangerous and often lethal journey to our land borders and to address the root causes of irregular migration that threaten our entire continent.