Biden administration appeals judge's order to stop expelling migrants under Trump-era pandemic policy

Migrants cross the Rio Grande River carrying food, water, and other supplies to their makeshift camp under the International Bridge, Del Rio, Texas, September 17, 2021, Del Rio, Texas.
The Biden administration appeals a judge's order not to use the Trump-era Pandemic Policy that allows for rapid expulsion of migrants without giving them an opportunity to apply for asylum.

Friday's appeal by the Department of Justice to U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan’s Thursday ruling that barred the federal government deporting migrants under Title 42 of the Public Health Law, was filed by the Department of Justice. The ruling was to take effect within 14 days, according to Sullivan.

This appeal is the latest attempt by the Biden administration, to address the 20 year-long-high number of illegal migrants crossing the border from Mexico and Central America. It remains a political flashpoint for both Republicans and progressive Democrats.

In March 2020, former President Donald Trump introduced Title 42. This was in response to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. To stop the spread Covid-19, the government was empowered to deport any illegally crossing of the border.

Although President Joe Biden worked hard to reverse many of his predecessors' strict immigration policies, he renewed Title 42 last Month after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a revised order justifying its continued use because of the ongoing pandemic.

According to the CDC, the policy will remain in place until border migration by non-U.S citizens from Mexico or Canada is "ceased to pose a serious threat to the public's health."

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data, over 1 million migrants were expelled since the outbreak of the pandemic.

More than 444,000 migrants were returned across the border under the Trump administration using Title 42. Since January, Biden's administration has expelled more than 690,000.

Many progressive Democrats and immigration advocates were disappointed by the decision of the Biden administration to keep Title 42. They had hoped that the federal government would end the policy following Thursday's ruling.

"We are upset that the Biden administration is devoting their precious time and energy to fighting tooth & nail to uphold Donald Trump's xenophobic immigrant policies, exposing thousands to harm," Noah Gottschalk (global policy lead at Oxfam America), said in a tweet Friday.

Oxfam America was among the plaintiffs in the Title 42 lawsuit that led to Thursday's decision. The American Civil Liberties Union and Texas Civil Rights Project are among the other groups that challenged Title 42 in the lawsuit that resulted in Thursday's ruling.

RAICES expressed its disappointment with the decision.

"By defending Title 42 the Biden Administration has made clear that it is willing deny asylum seekers families their right for a fair and full process to receive protection in America," Tami Goodlette (director of litigation at Texas-based RAICES) stated in a Friday statement. "The Biden Administration must cease using Title 42 to harm children and families, and it must also stop using Title 42 entirely."

Goodlette stated, "We urge White House to rectify the rash decision to appeal to these families and end their suffering once and for all."

The White House and DOJ did not immediately reply to our requests for comment.