Updated Nov 16, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Judge grants DOJ request to delay end of Title 42 immigration policy

Migrants camping on the U.S.-Mexico border protest Title 42 by holding signs for Border Patrol agents to read.

Migrants who are in a camp on the Mexican bank of the Rio Grande called for the return of the exception to Title 42 for Venezuelans in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on Nov. 1. Photo: Christian Torres/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A federal judge on Wednesday temporarily stayed a decision that would block the Biden administration from expelling migrants without the chance for asylum under the Title 42 policy.

The latest: The Department of Justice filed a stay motion on Tuesday night requesting a five-week delay before ending the use of Title 42.

  • "The delay in implementation of the court’s order will allow the government to prepare for an orderly transition to new policies at the border," the Department of Homeland Security wrote in a statement Tuesday.
  • District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan granted the request on Wednesday, writing that he did so "with great reluctance."
  • The stay will be in effect from Nov. 15 to Dec. 20.
  • The stay will allow the government to "continue to manage the border in a safe, orderly, and humane way," DHS said in a statement Wednesday, noting that cases will still be processed in accordance with Title 42 in the meantime.

Why it matters: The federal government has used the Trump-era policy, implemented as a public health measure in response to COVID, to stem the unprecedented tide of migration to the U.S.-Mexico border.

  • The Biden administration said it would end the policy earlier this year, but a federal judge in a separate case blocked its termination after a group of Republican-led states sought intervention.

What they're saying: Sullivan wrote in the 49-page ruling that enactment of the Title 42 order was "arbitrary and capricious in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act."

  • "Particularly in view of the harm Plaintiffs face if summarily expelled to countries they may be persecuted or tortured, the Court therefore vacated the Title 42 policy," said Sullivan, who was appointed by former President Clinton.

ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt, who led the lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of a group of asylum-seeking families, said in a statement that the policy has "caused enormous harm to tens of thousands of asylum seekers."

  • "Hopefully this is the end of this shameful policy that was inconsistent with America’s values and legal commitments."

Worth noting: A top official at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has testified that the Title 42 directive was not developed internally but rather "handed" to them.

Editor's note: This story was updated with info on the DOJ request to temporarily stay the court's ruling.

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