A federal appeals court issued an order Thursday preserving the government’s powers to expel illegal immigrants jumping the border during the pandemic.
A lower court judge ruled that the expulsions, known as Title 42 authority, are illegal, but the Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia stayed its ruling pending further arguments.
The three-judge appeals panel established an oral argument for January, indicating that the government has at least three more months to use Title 42 to block at least some illegal immigrants in the current unprecedented border surge.
Title 42 is a finding by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that the pandemic is so severe that allowing illegal immigrants in would be a serious health risk.
Federal District Judge Emmet Sullivan had ruled that the expulsions went beyond Title 42. The Biden administration appealed his decision.
The Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, said this week that 20% of the migrants they are seeing at the border are sick and, given the number they see of 7,000 people a day, he said that having them at Border Patrol stations it would be a recipe. for the spread of disease.
Immigrant rights advocates say Title 42, which was started under President Trump but expanded by the Biden administration, is based on the notion that immigrants are plagued by disease.
They have pleaded with Biden’s team to cancel the pandemic order, saying it denies asylum seekers the opportunity to present their case because they are immediately expelled.
“If the Biden administration really wants to treat asylum seekers humanely, it should end this illegal policy now and withdraw its appeal.
We will continue to fight to end this illegal policy, ”said Lee Gelernt, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union leading the case challenging Title 42.
In the Trump era, more than 90% of border jumpers were expelled using Title 42 in a few months.
Under Biden’s team, that proportion has dropped to less than half for border jumpers. Mayorkas says he is not receiving as much cooperation from Mexico to receive back the expelled migrants.