A federal judge in Louisiana has issued a temporary injunction that prevents the Biden administration from lifting Title 42 immigration restrictions at the border imposed during the pandemic.
The Title 42 rules were set to be lifted on May 23. The Department of Homeland Security estimates that immediately after the restrictions are lifted, more than 18,000 illegal aliens a day will attempt to cross the U.S. border — three times the current number of crossings.
Two dozen Republican states sued to maintain Title 42. Judge Robert Summerhays in the Western District of Louisiana agreed.
“Today’s ruling is a significant win as Title 42 is one of the few policies that is actually working,” said Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich. “I’m grateful to the court for upholding the rule of law and helping maintain some level of sanity as we continue to battle the Biden-made border crisis.”
The states are suing based on administrative law that requires the federal government to give adequate time for comments on any rule issued by Washington. It also bars moves deemed “arbitrary and capricious.”
A coalition of Republicans and moderate Democrats are backing a bill in Congress that would prevent the administration from lifting Title 42 restrictions until 90 days after the CDC says the national emergency is over. The CDC has given the green light for the government to reopen the border for refugees but that plan is now on hold as the issue works its way through the courts.
The lawsuit claims the administration failed to estimate or account for the costs to the states. They cite “increased health care costs for aliens infected with COVID-19 and the cost of increased illegal immigration caused by the Termination Order and the presence of much greater numbers of paroled aliens with non-meritorious asylum claims who were induced to enter the United States because of the Termination Order.”
“This suit challenges an imminent, man-made, self-inflicted calamity: the abrupt elimination of the only safety valve preventing this administration’s disastrous border policies from devolving into an unmitigated catastrophe,” the complaint read.
“In sum, the Plaintiff States have demonstrated that the Termination Order will affect their ‘quasi-sovereign’ interests based on its impact on their healthcare systems and their interest in the health and welfare of their citizens,” Judge Summerhays wrote.
Summerhays also gave the plaintiffs a possible total victory by acknowledging that the lifting of Title 42 was subject to the ACA (Affordable Care Act), and that the government did not overcome “the presumption of reviewability under the APA (Administrative Procedures Act).” If the administration is required — as they should be — to obey the APA and allow for a comment period before lifting Title 42, it will be many months before any action can be taken.
Summerhays, a Trump nominee, was widely seen as likely to issue the injunction, particularly as he had granted a temporary restraining order preventing the Department of Homeland Security from transitioning away from Title 42 by removing migrants via a process called “expedited removal” instead.
Arizona, Texas, and other border states will not be allowed to enjoy their victory. Judge or no judge, Biden’s policies are still wreaking havoc on the border. Those states are living with the reality of the president’s open border policies and will continue to do so until Congress or the courts makes him change them.