DC Circuit Court Prohibits ‘Title 42’ Expulsions Used by Trump to Expel Hundreds of Thousands of Migrants

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By Ankita Joshi and Emily Lin

WASHINGTON, DC – Earlier this month, groups challenging expulsions of asylum-seeking families won their class action lawsuit, Huisha-Huisha v. Mayorkas, with the D.C. Circuit prohibiting Title 42 expulsions of families to persecution or torture.

The Title 42 Expulsion Policy grants the government the ability to take emergency action to stop the “introduction of communicable diseases.”

Under the Trump Administration, Title 42 was used to expel hundreds of thousands of migrants on the basis that these migrants would increase the spread of COVID-19.

The victory in the Huisha-Huisha v. Mayorkas’ lawsuit found that the Title 42 text “contained no reference to the word ‘expel’ or other synonyms, suggesting that the statute’s use to remove asylum and refugee seekers from the US was untenable.”

Soon after this ruling, numerous public health experts, immigrant and civil rights leaders, and members of Congress have urged the administration to abandon Title 42 and to “establish a fair and humane asylum process at the southern border.”

The ACLU is among the many civil rights and immigrant rights organizations that voiced concerns about Title 42’s impact on families seeking asylum.

Some advocates have spoken out against the Biden Administration’s failure to end Title 42.

Lee Gelernt, The ACLU’s lead attorney in the Title 42 challenge has stated, “Title 42 was a horrific Trump administration scheme to keep out asylum seekers. Two years in, Title 42 is still causing grave harm. Every court to consider the policy has ruled it unlawful, and there is no justification to keep it in place. The Biden administration should not shy away from doing what is right and finally end Title 42.”

Neela Chakravartula, managing attorney at the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS) urges the Biden administration to end the “racist Title 42 policy” and “restart asylum at the border.”

Karla Marisol Vargas, senior attorney at Texas Civil Rights Project argues the harms Title 42 has brought to migrants, stating that “The administration should finally do the right thing by ending this policy before any additional lives are put in danger by Title 42.”

Tami Goodlette, director of litigation at RAICES, specifically spoke out against the Biden Administration.

“Last week, the Biden Administration rolled back Title 42 as it applies to unaccompanied minors, a small step in the right direction but not nearly enough. The Biden administration must end Title 42 for all immigrants and asylum seekers. The facts and the science are clear, and it’s time for President Biden to live up to his promise to restore our asylum system and put an end to this cruel and racist policy,” Goodlette said.

About The Author

Ankita Joshi is a second-year student at the University of San Francisco, pursuing a major in International Studies and a minor in Political Science. She is originally from Sacramento, CA.

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