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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

Updated Jan 22, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden to attempt "emergency economic relief" by executive order

President Biden. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

President Biden will continue his executive action blitz on Friday, issuing two more orders in an attempt to provide immediate relief to struggling families without waiting for Congress.

Why it matters: In his second full day in office, Biden is again resorting to executive actions as he tries to increase payments for nutritional assistance and protect workers' rights during the pandemic.

Dave Lawler, author of World
29 mins ago - World

Americans increasingly see China as an enemy

One in three Americans, and a majority of Republicans, now view China as an enemy of the United States, according to a new survey from Pew Research Center.

By the numbers: Just 9% of Americans consider China a "partner," while 55% see Beijing as a "competitor" and 34% as an "enemy."

Scoop: Leaked HHS docs spotlight Biden's child migrant dilemma

A group of undocumented immigrants walk toward a Customs and Border Patrol station after being apprehended. Photo: Sergio Flores/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Fresh internal documents from the Department of Health and Human Services show how quickly the number of child migrants crossing the border is overwhelming the administration's stretched resources.

Driving the news: In the week ending March 1, the Border Patrol referred to HHS custody an average of 321 children per day, according to documents obtained by Axios. That's up from a weekly average of 203 in late January and early February — and just 47 per day during the first week of January.