A federal judge blocked the Title 42 policy that allowed migrants to be turned away at the border between the U.S. and Mexico. This ruling put the policy on hold for five weeks until midnight on Dec. 21 when the asylum restrictions will be lifted.

Politico reported that a Washington-based appointee of former President Bill Clinton, U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan, called the policy, “arbitrary and capricious in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act.”

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What is Title 42?

Title 42 is a policy that falls under public health law and gives Customs and Border Protection the ability to block migrants from coming into the country without allowing them to seek asylum.

The Deseret News reported that the policy does not differ for people based on what country they come from, and many are turned away just hours after being taken into custody.

A detention attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, Stephen Kang, said that in most cases, “if a noncitizen came to the border, if they were seeking asylum, they would be put in normal immigration proceedings and have a chance to show that they fear returning to their home country.”

Title 42 was put in place in March 2020, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic during the Trump administration.

Fox News reported that with the policy, the Trump administration turned away over 185,000 migrants in 2020 while the Biden administration turned away 937,000 in 2021 and 983,000 in 2022.

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Why is there a five-week delay?

Sullivan said that he granted the five-week delay “with great reluctance,” because it would “enable the government to make preparations to implement” the new ruling, according to The Guardian.

“This transition period is critical to ensuring that (the Department of Homeland Security) can continue to carry out its mission to secure the nation’s borders and to conduct its border operations in an orderly fashion,” the government attorneys wrote.

Across party lines, senators have said they hope the Customs and Border Protection is ready to handle the large amount of migrants after the policy ends, according to the Deseret News.

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What backlash is facing the ruling?

Some of the backlash facing the Biden administration for ending Title 42 comes from states where migrants tend to settle after coming in to the U.S.

In a statement regarding the Biden administration’s plans to end Title 42, Arizona Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly wrote, “Arizona communities bear the brunt of the federal government’s failure at our border, so we’re stepping in and protecting border communities by ensuring the Administration works hand-in-hand with local leaders, law enforcement, and nonprofits to put a comprehensive, workable plan in place before lifting Title 42.”

The statement from Sinema and Kelly, which was issued in April, continued, “We need a secure, orderly and humane response at our southern border and our bipartisan legislation holds the Biden administration accountable to that.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott posted a tweet about the ruling, saying, “This will further signal to cartels, human smugglers, & illegal immigrants that the border is wide open — inciting more violence & lawlessness.”

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Why some people support the end of Title 42

As Title 42 is a policy under public health law, Sullivan ruled that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s use of Title 42 to block people from gaining asylum was a violation of the law.

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The National Review reported that in Sullivan’s opinion on his ruling, he wrote, “It is unreasonable for the CDC to assume that it can ignore the consequences of any actions it chooses to take in the pursuit of fulfilling its goals, particularly when those actions included the extraordinary decision to suspend the codified procedural and substantive rights of noncitizens seeking safe harbor.”

Monika Langarica, an attorney with the Center for Immigration Law and Policy at UCLA, said, “Each day that passes with Title 42 in place is one more day that countless lives are endangered by this policy.”

Despite the Biden administration’s previous attempt to end Title 42 at the beginning of the year not going through, people in support of ending Title 42 have been speaking out since the beginning of the year, according to the Texas Tribune.

“President Biden must once and for all eliminate the use of Title 42 for asylum seekers,” Donna De La Cruz, director of communications for the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, said.

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