A federal judge in Louisiana issued a preliminary injunction on Friday, May 20 that prevents the Biden Administration from planning and executing an orderly end to Title 42, the Trump-era policy that effectively halted long-standing asylum law.
Using the COVID-19 pandemic as a pretext to close the U.S. border to those seeking protection, the policy has resulted in over 1.9 million expulsions without due process. The lawsuit, Arizona v. CDC, was brought against the Centers for Disease Control by 24 states. The ruling means that Title 42 will not be rescinded on May 23 as planned by the administration, preventing people fleeing violence and persecution from exercising their legal right to seek asylum.
In response to the ruling, Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, President and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, said:
“This lawsuit only serves to prevent vulnerable families and children facing unspeakable violence, persecution, and exploitation from exercising their legal right to seek asylum. Beyond the devastating humanitarian impact of Title 42, the court’s ruling also fails to recognize well-established domestic and international law. Seeking asylum is a legal right, and yet this bedrock of the American legal system is quickly eroding at a time of unprecedented need. Displacement crises originating in Ukraine, Haiti, Cuba, and Central America all underscore the life-and-death importance of honoring our moral and legal obligations at the southern border.
The decision undermines the Biden administration’s efforts to implement what the vast majority of Americans support – a fair, humane, and orderly immigration system. Instead, it maintains a status quo that has been wholly ineffective in establishing a secure border. Only the coyotes profiteering off of people seeking protection have reason to celebrate this ill-reasoned ruling.
In coming weeks, Congress too will consider legislation that would effectively codify Title 42, thereby keeping America’s golden doors closed to those seeking refuge. Any legislative gutting of asylum protections would undercut U.S. credibility and extinguish the beacon of hope and freedom that America once shone across the world. We are a nation shaped by immigrants, called by our faith traditions and moral centers to protect and embrace those who have faced the unimaginable.”