Aug 2, 2021 - Politics & Policy

ACLU to ask court to end Biden administration's use of Title 42

Central American migrants walk along the Stanton international bridge from El Paso, Texas to Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state, Mexico, Getty Images)
Central American migrants being expelled from the U.S. on March 29, 2021. Photo: HERIKA MARTINEZ/AFP via Getty Images

The ACLU is returning to court with the Biden administration over the U.S. government's continued use of Title 42 — a public health order that's allowed border officials to turn back migrant families to Mexico without the chance for asylum.

Why it matters: The administration had plans to end the Trump-era policy last month but reconsidered because of renewed concerns around the coronavirus, including the Delta variant. Biden's refusal to end the policy has frustrated Democrats and immigration advocates.

What they're saying: "The administration said it just needed a little bit of time to repair the damage done to the asylum system by the Trump administration," the ACLU's lead attorney on the case Lee Gelernt told Axios. "It’s now been seven months and there is no end in sight to the Title 42 policy."

  • "The Biden administration left us with no choice but to seek an injunction for families.
  • "We were making progress in the negotiations, getting thousands of families to safety through the exemption process we created. But minimizing the damage of the Title 42 policy was never the goal; it was ending it completely."

What to watch: Until now, the Biden administration has worked with the ACLU to allow for some families to pursue humanitarian exemptions, but Gelernt said the administration will end that after Aug. 9.

  • Meanwhile, the administration is reportedly facing resistance from Mexican officials about continuing Title 42, and AP reports that two prominent advocacy organizations have stopped working with the Biden administration on humanitarian exceptions over concerns over Title 42.
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