Speed Reads

Immigration

Federal appellate court allows Biden administration to expel migrant families under public health order

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., sided with the Biden administration on Thursday and halted a lower court's decision that the Department of Homeland Security can't expel migrant families using a public health order called Title 42. The Trump administration had invoked Title 42 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to remove migrants from the U.S., ostensibly to prevent spread of the coronavirus. President Biden exempted unaccompanied minors from Title 42 but kept the order in place.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan had delayed his order until Thursday to give the government time to appeal. The appellate court's stay means Title 42 will likely remain in effect for months. 

The American Civil Liberties Union led the legal push to force an end to the Title 42 expulsions. "If the Biden administration really wants to treat asylum seekers humanely, it should end this lawless policy now and withdraw its appeal," ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt said Thursday. "We will continue fighting to end this illegal policy."

The Biden administration did move to undo another controversial Trump-era immigration policy, the "Remain in Mexico" policy. Biden had ended the policy, which forced most asylum seekers at the southern border to wait in Mexico while their claims were processed, but another federal judge ordered him to restart the policy in August. On Wednesday night, DHS said it plans to issue a new memorandum terminating the policy.