WASHINGTON — A federal judge in Louisiana said he will temporarily block the Biden administration from ending Title 42. The Trump-era pandemic restriction allows federal immigration officials to expel migrants, including asylum-seekers, at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced in early April that the policy would be lifted on May 23. It had imposed the rule nearly two years prior under the Trump administration.
Governments in multiple Republican-led states sued to block the Biden administration from lifting the rule. The suit was first filed by governments in Arizona, Louisiana and Missouri and eventually included more than 20 states.
"For the reasons stated on the record, the Court announced its intent to grant the motion," U.S. District Judge Robert Summerhays of Louisiana said in a notice Monday. He said both sides would confer regarding the specific terms of a temporary restraining order and try to reach an agreement.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry applauded the decision on Twitter, saying the judge had granted the states' request to "halt this enormous threat to our national security." The Department of Justice declined to comment to multiple news outlets Monday evening.
The lawsuit says the order is “the only safety valve preventing this Administration’s disastrous border policies from devolving into an unmitigated chaos and catastrophe.”
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.
The Department of Homeland Security has said as many as 18,000 migrants could show up daily at the southern border when the order ends. Previous rises in migration have strained law enforcement agencies and nonprofits on the border trying to provide security and shelter.
Nonprofit groups that work with asylum seekers are arguing for an end to the rule, which they say endangers people who are fleeing violence back home.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said earlier in the month that Title 42 is a public health directive.
“It’s not an immigration, migration enforcement measure and the decision on when to lift Title 42 was made by the CDC,” she said.