Appeals Court Allows Biden Administration To Keep Swiftly Expelling Migrant Families

A judge's order banning immigration officials from using Title 42, a public health law that allows them to quickly deport families who cross the border between the U.S. and Mexico on Thursday was thrown out by an appeals court. This allowed the Biden administration continue the controversial border policy of the pandemic-era first implemented by Donald Trump.

After a group of asylum seekers crossed the Rio Grande into Texas, a U.S. Border Patrol agent gave them masks. Getty Images

The Key Facts

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a temporary stay Thursday evening. This halted D.C. Judge Emmet Sullivan's injunction against families moving quickly while a federal lawsuit is proceeding over the policy. Two weeks ago, Sullivan's ruling that Title 42 does not give the government authority to expel migrants was published and will take effect on Thursday. ACLU, which sued the federal government for Title 42, responded to the ruling by asking the Biden administration not to repeal the policy. Lee Gelernt, an ACLU lawyer, stated in a statement that they will continue to fight to end the illegal policy. Forbes reached out to Department of Homeland Security for comments.

Important Background

Federal immigration authorities have used Title 42 since spring 2020 to expel hundreds and thousands of immigrants who were arrested at the U.S./Mexico border. Sometimes, they send them back to Mexico in hours. After President Joe Biden was elected, he ended the policy regarding unaccompanied minors and renewed it for single adults as well as families. Federal officials argue that these expulsions prevent Covid-19 spreading in border communities and detention centers. This is a serious threat to immigration agents as well as migrants. The Biden administration responded to an increase in illegal crossings by warning potential migrants in English or Spanish that they might be removed from the United States. Title 42 has been criticized by some Democrats and immigration advocates. They claim that the policy is dangerous for migrants and prevents them from seeking asylum from persecution back home.

Big Number

1.16 Million. According to data from Customs and Border Protection, this is how many migrants who crossed the US-Mexico border in the south were expelled by the United States under Title 42 between March 2020 and August 2021. Most were single adults. However, more than 100,000 of them crossed the U.S.–Mexico border along with their families. Over 15,000 were unaccompanied minors.

Surprising Fact

Title 42 was used by the federal government on less than 20% of family migrants arrested at the U.S./Mexico border last month. This is down from almost 50% in February. This could be due to the Mexican government's reported decision to not allow the United States to expel Central American migrants from the other side.


After thousands of Haitian migrants arrived in Texas from Mexico, deportation policies were brought to the forefront when they camped under a bridge that spans the Rio Grande. Biden's administration responded by increasing removal flights to Haiti. This was a controversial move as many of these migrants had not lived in Haiti for many years.