A federal judge on Thursday blocked the Biden administration from deporting migrant families with children under a public health order issued under President Donald Trump, CNN reports.
DC District Judge Emmet Sullivan said that there are enough measures in place to mitigate against the spread of Covid that the administration does not need to expel families from the country.
“In view of the wide availability of testing, vaccines, and other minimization measures, the Court is not convinced that the transmission of COVID-19 during border processing cannot be significantly mitigated. Indeed, the government has successfully implemented mitigation measures with regard to processing unaccompanied minors in order to minimize risk of COVID-19 transmission," Sullivan wrote.
The order will take effect in 14 days. Individual migrants will still be subject to the public health order.
In August, about 16,000 families were expelled while more than 70,000 were allowed into the US.
Since the order was implemented, more than 958,000 migrants have been expelled at the southern border.
Rights groups praise decision:
"President Biden should have ended this cruel and lawless policy long ago, and the court was correct to reject it today," Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project, said in a statement.
"This decision validates what we already know: Title 42 is an illegal and immoral policy based on xenophobia, not science. The court's ruling today makes it clear that the expulsions of vulnerable families into harm's way will not stand," said Noah Gottschalk, Oxfam America's Global Policy Lead.
Biden lost another court case:
The ruling comes after the Biden administration, which has been criticized by both sides of the immigration debate, was ordered by the Supreme Court to reinstate Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy, which forces migrants from third countries to stay in Mexico while their asylum claims are processed.
Border officials have been working to revive the program, though it’s unclear if the court can actually force the administration to do so.