The Biden administration has just been blocked from using a public health order to expel migrant families.
Judge Emmet Sullivan on Thursday barred the administration from expelling migrant families at the border under Title 42, CBS News and CNN report. Given the "the wide availability of testing, vaccines, and other minimization measures," Sullivan said the court wasn't "convinced that the transmission of COVID-19 during border processing cannot be significantly mitigated."
The Biden administration had previously been criticized for continuing the policy from former President Donald Trump's administration. As American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Lee Gelernt argued, "We do not believe that the Delta variant is a basis for expelling people without a hearing," per NPR. Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) also argued the "harmful" policy had been "weaponized to deny families their fundamental right to seek asylum." The Biden administration exempted unaccompanied children from the policy, CBS News notes, and the judge said in the ruling Thursday that "the government has successfully implemented mitigation measures with regard to processing unaccompanied minors in order to minimize risk of COVID-19 transmission."
The judge's order doesn't take effect for two weeks, but CNN described this ruling as a "major defeat for the administration." The director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project, Omar Jadwat, celebrated the decision, telling CBS, "President Biden should have ended this cruel and lawless policy long ago, and the court was correct to reject it today."