A Louisiana federal judge on Friday temporarily blocked the Biden administration from ending Title 42, the CDC public health order border agents rely on to turn migrants away.
Judge Robert Summerhays, a Trump appointee in the Western District of Louisiana, granted a preliminary injunction on the Biden administration’s move to end the restriction on Monday in response to lawsuits from two dozen Republican states, led by Arizona, Louisiana and Missouri.
Summerhays had said he would rule on the matter before Monday.
The states claim the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is violating the Administrative Procedures Act because they did not provide a notice-and-comment period for the plan to lift Title 42. The law also bars moves deemed ‘arbitrary and capricious.’
The states claim that the Biden administration failed to account for the added cost to them of more migrants being allowed in.
Arizona attorney general Mark Brnovich announced this news on Twitter
The Biden administration stressed in its arguments that the CDC has the authority to end Title 42 because it is a public health order, not an immigration order.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials have told the Biden administration they will quickly run out of funding to process the influx of migrants once Title 42 expires, and internal documents show they could need as much as $2 billion.
DHS has already said it could face up to 18,000 migrant encounters along the southern border per day once Title 42 expires, more than double the current rate of 7-8,000 and more than triple the DHS’ operational capacity of 5,000 per day.
And head of next week’s planned end of Title 42, migrants were seen pouring in through the gaps in the U.S.-Mexico border wall and lining up to be taken in for processing in photos taken Thursday.
Title 42, the pandemic-era public health rule that restricts immigration, is set to end Monday.
Currently DHS is operating on $1.4 billion appropriated from Congress to handle the record number of border encounters and is planning to pull funding from other parts of the agency to handle the influx.
According to internal planning documents reviewed by NBC News, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will soon have exhausted all resources, and officials are pushing the Biden administration to ask Congress for a supplemental funding bill.
According to internal planning, DHS would need an additional $1.2 billion in funds if border crossings reach 10,000 per day, $1.6 billion for 14,000 crossings a day and $2 billion for 18,000 per day.
DHS officials told NBC that they’ve expressed the need for more funding in meetings with the White House, including one late last week and one early this week.
As of the beginning of this month, more than 1.9 million people have been expelled under Title 42 since April 2020, most of them under the Biden administration.
Border Patrol agents encountered 234,000 unlawful crossings in April, a new record high, and about 41 percent of the encounters ended in a Title 42 expulsion. Some of those crossings were repeat offenders.
About 97,000 were expelled under Title 42 and 110,000 were released into the U.S., according to Biden administration data.
Another 15,000 were expelled under Title 8, a U.S. immigration policy used when migrants who try to cross unlawfully cannot establish any legal basis for being in the country. DHS has said it will expand use of Title 8 once Title 42 is gone.
President Biden will be in Japan when the border policy is expected to expire, in his first trip to Asia as president. He was under intense pressure from progressives tp end the pandemic-era restriction, but some Democrats, particularly those up for re-election in swing districts, have called on the president to delay the policy’s end until he’s come up with a more thought-out plan.
Meanwhile, Sec. of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas has assured that his agency is prepared for the influx of migrants should the court allow Title 42 to be revoked.
Immigrants walk through a gap in the U.S.-Mexico border barrier on May 19, 2022 in Yuma, Arizona
Immigrants wait to board a U.S. Border Patrol bus to be taken for processing after crossing the border from Mexico on May 19, 2022 in Yuma, Arizona
Immigrants wait to be processed by the U.S. Border Patrol after crossing the border from Mexico on May 19, 2022 in Yuma, Arizona
A U.S. Border Patrol agent hands bags for personal articles to immigrants, as they prepare to enter a Border Patrol vehicle to be taken for processing after crossing the border from Mexico, on May 19, 2022 in Yuma, Arizona
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials made 234,088 stops on the Mexican border last month, a 5.8% increase from 221,303 in March. The figure is a 22-year high
In April he released a 20-page memo detailing a six-part strategy to handle the onslaught of migrants after Title 42 ends, including expanding processing capacity, detaining, deporting and prosecuting more migrants and surging personnel and resources to the border.
Mayorkas, in his 10th trip to the border this week, insisted that the nation’s perimeter will not be ‘open’ without Title 42.
‘It is very important to note that while, of course, we are preparing for the end of Title 42 based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s decision that it will end on May 23, that does not mean that the border is open beginning May 23,’ Mayorkas insisted.
‘We continue to enforce the laws of this country,’ he added. ‘We continue to remove individuals who do not qualify for relief under the laws of this country.’
An immigrant father from Colombia holds his child after crossing the border from Mexico, as they await processing by the U.S. Border Patrol, on May 19, 2022 in Yuma, Arizona
An immigrant mother from Cuba sits with her sons after crossing the border from Mexico, as they await processing by the U.S. Border Patrol, on May 19, 2022 in Yuma, Arizona
Last month’s 234,088 encounters were a 5.8 percent increase from the month prior where encounters reached 221,303. The March figure was the highest since July 2021 when encounters were at 213,593.
The last few months have seen massive spikes as migrants head to the U.S. border in preparation for the end of Title 42, which is a pandemic-era policy that allows for instant expulsions without the immigration agencies hearing asylum claims in the midst of a public health emergency.