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Judge temporarily blocks Biden administration from ending Title 42 COVID border restrictions for migrants

Title 42 is the COVID-era border restriction that has allowed the US to quickly expel migrants.

PHOENIX — Editor's Note: The above video is from an earlier broadcast.

A federal judge in Louisiana has temporarily blocked the Biden administration from ending a Trump-era pandemic restriction on the US-Mexico border.

The Biden administration announced plans to end Title 42, a pandemic-era health order used by federal immigration officials to expel migrants, including asylum-seekers, at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Earlier this month, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich filed a lawsuit leading a coalition of states against the Biden administration for revoking Title 42.

"We applaud the Court for approving our request for a Temporary Restraining Order to keep Title 42 in place," Brnovich said in a statement Monday. "The Biden administration cannot continue in flagrant disregard for existing laws and required administrative procedures." 

Title 42, which was enacted in March 2020 by the Trump administration, has been used 1.7 million times to expel migrants. Many of them have been removed multiple times after making repeated attempts to enter the U.S.

The CDC has the authority to enact orders like Title 42 under the 1944 Public Health Service Act, which gives federal officials the authority to stop the entry of people and products into the U.S. to limit the spread of communicable diseases. Part of the reason the agency is planning to lift the order soon is that COVID-19 cases have been decreasing and vaccinations have become widely available.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials have said they expect immigration authorities to have up to 18,000 encounters a day with immigrants at the border once Title 42 removals stop. The current average is about 6,000 encounters a day.

It noted that several Democratic senators, including Arizona Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly, have asked the Biden administration to hold off on lifting Title 42 to better prepare for an expected increase in asylum seekers.


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