By KEVIN McGILL – Associated Press
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal judge Friday will hear arguments over whether the Biden administration can lift pandemic restrictions on immigrants seeking asylum later this month.
Migrants have been deported more than 1.8 million times since March 2020 under federal authority Title 42, which has denied migrants the opportunity to seek asylum under US law and the international treaty on the grounds of preventing the spread of migrants. COVID-19.
The government’s plan to end the Title 42 authority was announced by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, announced on April 1. The plan has come under criticism from Republicans and some Democrats, fearing an influx of new migrants.
Louisiana, Arizona and Missouri quickly filed suit and were later joined by 18 other states in the legal challenge heard on Friday. Texas sued independently.
U.S. District Judge Robert Summerhays, in Lafayette, Louisiana, is the judge in the case. After acknowledging last month that it had already begun phasing out the pandemic containment by processing more migrants under the Immigration Act rather than Title 42, Summerhays ordered the phase-out to be halted.
Summerhays, appointed by President Donald Trump, wrote last month that easing restrictions before May 23 would cause “unrecoverable costs for health care, law enforcement, detention, education and other services” for states seeking to keep the policy in effect.
He also said the government likely failed to follow federal regulatory procedures when planning the end of the policy for May 23. Friday’s arguments revolve around whether or not the restrictions will be maintained after May 23 while the lawsuit continues. It was unclear how soon Summerhays would rule.
Separately, Congress presents another potential obstacle to ending Title 42. Several moderate Democrats have joined Republicans in expressing concerns that authorities are unprepared for a widely anticipated influx of migrants.
Large numbers of illegal border crossings have encouraged some Republicans to try to make the border and immigration an election year issue. US authorities stopped migrants at the Mexican border more than 221,000 times in March, a record in 22 years, although many had crossed repeatedly because Title 42 has no legal or criminal consequences.
Title 42 authority has been applied unevenly between nationalities. Mexico has agreed to take back migrants from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Mexico — and a limited number from Cuba and Nicaragua. High costs, tense diplomatic relations and other considerations have made it more difficult to remove migrants from other countries who have to be flown home.
Title 42 is one of the two most important surviving policies from the Trump era to deter asylum at the border. Last month, the Supreme Court heard arguments over whether or not to allow the US to force asylum seekers in Mexico to await hearings in the US immigration court.
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