EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Reaction to a federal judge striking down a policy the Biden administration has used to expel 1.6 migrants from the U.S. was swift and passionate, but key questions remain.
“A federal judge has just ended Title 42 and the Biden administration has done absolutely nothing to prepare for this outcome. If you think things are bad now, just wait for the (expletive deleted) show that’s coming,” the National Border Patrol Council said in a tweet.
The ruling comes just a day after U.S. Customs and Border Protection released enforcement statistics showing border agents apprehended 230,678 migrants in October along the Southwest land border.
The Biden administration planned to end Title 42, a Trump-era public health order to stop the cross-border spread of COVID-19, on May 23, but a federal judge in Louisiana ordered the administration to keep the policy in place. Tuesday’s ruling by another federal judge, this one in Washington, D.C., says Title 42 is arbitrary and capricious and violates the Administrative Procedures Act.
Immigration advocates hailed Tuesday’s D.C. ruling but cautioned they don’t know how the administration will handle the court’s decision.
“A very important caveat to all this is that the Department of Justice will likely go to the D.C. Circuit (Court) within the next 24 hours to seek an emergency stay pending appeal,” American Immigration Council Policy Director Aaron Reichlin-Melnick said on social media. “But at least for now, Title 42 is gone!”
Reichlin-Melnick said the Louisiana judge stopped the administration from ending Title 42 alleging the administration had not done it the correct way. He said the D.C. judge’s ruling vacates the order itself.
“This case was about whether Title 42 is lawful in the first place—taking it out at the roots,” he tweeted.
Patrick Giuliani, a spokesman for the Hope Border Institute in El Paso, said the advocacy nonprofit is paying close attention to new developments.
“We welcome the judge vacating Title 42, but it is still unclear to us what the outcome will be,” he said.
Border Report reached out to the U.S. Border Patrol for word on what the agency has been instructed to do if asylum-seekers cross the Rio Grande. Questions regarding Title 42 were referred to the Department of Homeland Security headquarters.
El Paso’s U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, said it is time to create a system with true legal pathways for legal immigration.
“For too long, members of Congress have championed Title 42 as a ‘solution’ to the challenges we face at the southern border and as a substitute for real and meaningful immigration reform. It is neither.” Escobar said in a statement. “In the absence of legislation, we will continue to see migrants making the dangerous journey, desperately attempting enter our country with the help of human traffickers, exacerbating inhumane conditions, and further stressing law enforcement and border communities. Congress must stop making excuses and take action to reform our outdated laws now.”
A Border Report/KTSM crew is on its way to a stretch of the Rio Grande frequently used by migrants to cross into the U.S. Some 900 Venezuelans have been staying in a tent camp there since the Biden administration on October 12 made that nationality amenable to Title 42 expulsions. Stay tuned for developments.