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The Paso Del Norte International Bridge between El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez. Photo: Justin Hamel/AFP via Getty Images

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., ordered the Trump administration on Wednesday to stop the expulsion of migrant children who cross the border alone — a policy enabled by a March emergency order by the Centers for Disease Control because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: As of September, nearly 9,000 unaccompanied migrant children had been expelled because of the CDC order.

What they're saying: "Today’s ruling is a critical step in halting the Trump administration’s unprecedented and illegal attempt to expel children under the thin guise of public health," ACLU's Lee Gelernt, the lead attorney in the case, said in a statement.

  • "The administration’s order has already allowed for the rapid expulsion of more than 13,000 children in need of protection, who were legally entitled to apply for asylum."

The big picture: Thousands of migrant children, families and adults from different countries have been sent to Mexico, at times violating a diplomatic agreement with Mexico, the New York Times' Caitlin Dickerson reported.

  • More than 197,00 migrants have been quickly expelled after reaching the border because of the CDC's emergency order, according to CBP data.
  • Before the March order, unaccompanied migrant minors were required to be put in the care of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which oversees a network of child migrant shelters and seeks to release migrant children to family members or other sponsors who are already in the U.S.

Go deeper

Nov 19, 2020 - Podcasts

The science of COVID restrictions

Coronavirus cases in the U.S. are still rising and government responses are varied and inconsistent. As partial restrictions take hold around the country, including curfews and some closed businesses, the question remains — are these responses actually based in science?

3 hours ago - Science

The "war on nature"

A resident stands on his roof as the Blue Ridge Fire burned back in October in Chino Hills, Calif. Photo: Jae C. Hong/AP

Apocalyptic weather is the new normal because humans are "waging war on nature," the UN declared on Wednesday.

What they're saying: "The state of the planet is broken," said UN Secretary-General António Guterres, reports AP. “This is suicidal.”

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: Nursing homes are still getting pummeledU.S. could hit herd immunity by end of summer 2021 if Americans embrace virus vaccines, Fauci says.
  2. Politics: Pelosi, Schumer call on McConnell to adopt bipartisan $900B stimulus framework.
  3. World: U.K. clears Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for mass rollout — Putin says Russia will begin large-scale vaccination next week.
  4. Business: Investors are finally starting to take their money out of safe-haven Treasuries.
  5. Sports: The end of COVID’s grip on sports may be in sight.