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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.

Mitt Romney calls Ray Dalio's China investments a "sad moral lapse"

Sen. Mitt Romney walks to a Senate Republican caucus meeting at the Capitol on Oct. 7. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on Thursday criticized billionaire Ray Dalio's investments in China, writing in a tweet that "his feigned ignorance of China's horrific abuses and rationalization of complicit investments there is a sad moral lapse."

Driving the news: Romney's comments come after Dalio's firm, Bridgewater Associates, the largest hedge fund in the world, raised $1.3 billion in November for a new private fund in China, Bloomberg reports.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: First known U.S. case of Omicron variant identified in California — America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron — CDC prepares tougher testing rules for international travelers.
  2. Politics: Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come — Meta removes accounts linked to COVID disinformation effort by China.
  3. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Moderna loses patent battles tied to COVID vaccine.
  4. World: Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people — Omicron variant detected in more countriesWHO advises people 60 or older to postpone travel due to Omicron
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.