In a reversal worthy of the Biden White House, the administration on Wednesday filed an appeal to prevent the Title 42 border expulsion policy from being lifted.
Title 42 is the Trump-era public health order that allowed the Border Patrol to rapidly send illegal migrants back into Mexico to stop further transmission of COVID-19. Left-wing critics charged that the public health benefits were little or none, but it proved effective in controlling the border.
The Justice Department has appealed a ruling that blocks Title 42, the Trump-era pandemic policy that let the US turn away migrants at the southern border https://t.co/ZmHkRP7iU1
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) December 7, 2022
In May of this year, the administration tried to end the protocol but was thwarted by a lawsuit from 24 Republican state attorneys general. Now the White House is attempting to prevent what it previously endorsed.
In its filing, the Justice Department wrote that the orders from the Trump administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “were lawful.” It asked the D.C. Circuit Court to pause the appeal until the 5th Circuit can take up a different Title 42 case.
That process could take up to a year or longer.
Last month, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan ruled that the current conditions under which Title 42 is utilized do not align with those when it was enacted in 2020.
At the time of his decision, Sullivan granted the Justice Department a five-week delay to end the restrictions. That set the date for lifting the expulsion policy for Dec. 21.
There is widespread and bipartisan concern that lifting the policy will trigger even more illegal migrants crossing the nation’s southern border.
Border Patrol numbers show that there are currently 6,000-8,000 border crossings per day. That number is expected to rise to as high as 18,000 if Title 42 is lifted.
Under former President Barack Obama, then-Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson noted that only 1,000 crossings per day was considered an emergency.
And as Congress’ current session draws to a close, there is new work on immigration reform being drafted that would extend Title 42 for another year. The effort by Sens. Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) is being called a “draft framework” to address several border issues.