The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced in April that Title 42 – which has been used since March 2020 to expel a majority of migrants at the southern border due to the COVID-19 pandemic – would expire at the end of May. Specifically, the order was supposed to end today (Monday, May 23). But on Friday evening, federal judge Robert Summerhays of the Western District of Louisiana granted a preliminary injunction in response to a lawsuit filed by two dozen states led by Arizona, Louisiana, and Missouri.
Ira Mehlman is a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). He contends the plaintiffs clearly had a strong case.
"When a judge feels that the plaintiffs are going to prevail on the merits of the case as it goes through the legal system, [he or she] will very often issue a preliminary injunction – because once the floodgates open it's too late to do anything about that," says Mehlman.
"So based on his assessment that the plaintiffs – in this case, 24 states – had a strong case and would prevail, [Summerhays] is preventing the Biden administration from moving ahead and lifting Title 42 on Monday as they had planned to."
According to an AP report, the states that brought the lawsuit argued the Biden administration failed to adequately consider the effects that lifting the restrictions would have on public health and law enforcement. Drew Ensign, an attorney for the state of Arizona, argued at a hearing that the CDC failed to follow administrative procedures requiring public notice and time to gather public comment.
Opposition came not only from those states but also from members of Congress. Mehlman points out there had been significant opposition to lifting Title 42 from both Republicans and Democrats.
"There were many, many Democrats who felt that lifting Title 42 at this point would be a disaster," the FAIR spokesman reports. "Not surprisingly, a lot of the Democrats who came out in opposition to the president lifting Title 42 were those who are running for re-election."
Vulnerable Democrats who have been pressuring President Joe Biden include Senators Mark Kelly (Arizona), Maggie Hassan (New Hampshire), and Katherine Cortez Masto (Nevada). Even one of the president's closest allies in the Senate, Christopher Coons of Delaware, has been talking of the need to back off on the plan.
In an earlier interview, Mehlman suggested that voters shouldn't fall for what he called "fake concern" by Democratic lawmakers.
The Biden administration indicated late Friday that it intends to appeal the ruling – which will send the case to the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, which has ruled against key Biden administration policies in the past.
Breitbart.com reported Sunday that despite the order keeping Title 42 in place, upwards of 3,600 immigrants – tired of waiting for the order to end – surged over the border into the Eagle Pass, Texas, area of operations.