Trump-Appointed Judge Upholding Trump-Era Pandemic Order Denying Entry of Migrants to U.S. for ‘Health Reasons’

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By Mansour Taleb-Ahmed

WASHINGTON, DC – Title 42, a “public charge” rule adopted early in the coronavirus pandemic to deny entry to thousands of migrants at the border, is being upheld by Federal Judge J Robert R. Summerhays in the Western District of Louisiana as of this week.

The judge stated he would prevent the Biden administration from exempting migrants from expulsion, being currently under a Trump-era public health order, until Title 42 is officially lifted next month.

Indeed, the federal government announced their motivation in lifting Title 42, on May 23.

Researchers showed that lifting it would likely create a “significant surge of migration from Mexico,” but while not all states are on board with that decision, others argue it will “create chaos on the border and lead to significant impacts on states forced to handle the newly arriving migrants.”

According to court records, Judge Summerhays, a judge of the District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, has not ruled on the issue of the adoption of Title 42 yet.

However, he argued that he would “grant a request from the states of Missouri, Louisiana and Arizona to prevent the federal government from taking any early steps to disregard Title 42 for certain migrants and process them under normal immigration procedures” in the meantime.

Missouri, Louisiana and Arizona stated there were “indications that many migrants from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador were already not being subjected to Title 42 expulsions, more than a month before the scheduled lifting of the order.”

According to the states’ motion statement “Thus, while Title 42 may be technically still in place, the reality on the ground is that D.H.S. `has largely stopped using Title 42 to remove migrants from Northern Triangle countries,” while quoting a report from Fox News.

In response to the state’s motion, the Department of Homeland Security noted that it had begun processing “some migrants from Central America — about 14 percent during a recent one-week stretch — under pre pandemic guidelines”.

However, DHS argued migrants were “not necessarily being allowed to remain in the country” but instead were being placed in “expedited removal proceedings” which as a consequence “ make it more challenging to re-enter the country later.”

According to the proposed order made by the states, which Judge Summerhays claimed he would sign, they called for a stop to any action that “formally implements” the eradication of Title 42” which they qualified as “substantially similar effect.”

Judge Summerhays, who was an appointee of President Donald J. Trump, reportedly ordered the government to certify under oath that “agencies had not taken any actions over the past month that could be reasonably characterized as carrying out the termination order ahead of May 23.”

Predictions have demonstrated that “about 12,000 to 13,000 migrants a day could cross the southern border once the policy is no longer in place”

However according to Biden’s administration plan, they have been preparing for “up to 18,000 daily border crossings, a huge increase over the current rate of about 8,000 a day”

The motion filed by the three states order DHS to “halt any processing of migrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras in the manner done before the public health measure, which initially allowed many migrants to enter the United States and file asylum claims”

The motion emphasized that the temporary restraining order will end in “14 days,” unless the court takes action to “dissolve or extend it before its expiration.”

Reports show the three states filed a lawsuit on April 3, two days after the CDC issued its order to end the policy in May.

They also asked that the court issue a “temporary restraining order’ to prevent any “early winding down” of the Title, arguing that “it appeared that the federal government was partially implementing the termination order already”.

Judge Summerhays declared his intention to grant this motion during a conference on the case.

According to data, ever since Title 42 was first introduced it has been used by officers from the southern border to “expel migrants more than 1.8 million times to Mexico or their home countries including on flights” without request of asylum.

Numbers showed a bipartisan increase in challenging the plan to eliminate the measure. Lawmakers justified their concerns in regards to the “chaos that would ensue along the border”.

Progressive Democrats maintained their stance on the issue. They argue Title 42 “no longer justified for health reasons and was instead being used to limit immigration.”

The U.S. Border patrol data shows “swelling numbers” of migrants, giving Republicans a reason to attack Biden’s administration for “failing to control unauthorized migration, even with the order in place.”

Texas attorney general, Ken Paxton recently filed a lawsuit against the termination of Title 42, saying it was “the only rule holding back a devastating flood of illegal immigration.”

In response, authorities reportedly encountered more than 221,000 migrants last month, which according to them is “the largest number in at least two decades.” They noted that in March, “officials turned people away under Title 42 half of the time”.

Mexican authorities are “refusing to accept the return of migrants with young children and from far-flung countries.”

Robyn Barnard, senior advocacy counsel for Human Rights First argued “We have said from the start that it was never justified, and we applauded the CDC decision to lift the order. It is clear from these lawsuits and attempts in Congress to keep Title 42 in place that all pretexts that this was a public health measure were just that.”

The White House put out a statement saying that ‘Title 42 was a public health provision” and that “a determination to lift it was made by the CDC., compelling the government to prepare to handle an increase in the volume of migrants crossing the border.”

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