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Harold Koh in 2011. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A senior State Department adviser transitioning to a new role condemned the Biden administration's use of a Trump-era policy to rapidly expel migrants at the southern border in an internal memo, Politico first reported and Axios confirmed.

State of play: In the memo dated Oct. 2, Harold Koh calls expulsions under Title 42, a public health order that was implemented as a COVID-19 containment measure, "illegal" and "inhumane," adding that the policy is "not worthy of this administration."

What he's saying: "[I] believe this Administration’s current implementation of the Title 42 authority continues to violate our legal obligation not to expel or return (“refouler”) individuals who fear persecution, death, or torture," Koh wrote.

  • "[L]awful, more humane alternatives plainly exist," he added.
  • Koh praised the recent push to aid tens of thousands of Afghan refugees but noted that these efforts "stand in stark contrast to the continuing use of Title 42 to rebuff the pleas of thousands of Haitians and myriad others arriving at the Southern Border who are fleeing violence, persecution, or torture."

A state department official said Koh's departure from his role as senior adviser has been long-planned and he will stay on as a consultant.

Why it matters: Biden has faced backlash for retaining the Title 42 policy, which denies adult migrants and families the chance for asylum. The policy was recently invoked to deport thousands of Haitian migrants in Del Rio, Texas.

Go deeper: Special envoy for Haiti resigns over Biden deportations

Go deeper

Oct 24, 2021 - World

Pope calls on countries to stop sending migrants back to Libya

Photo: Vincenzo Pinto / AFP via Getty Images

Pope Francis on Sunday called on the international community to end the practice of returning migrants rescued at sea to Libya and other "unsafe countries," AP reports.

Why it matters: Hundreds of thousands of migrants have taken to the sea, fleeing from the countries like Libya and Turkey. Many were later returned to their county of origin by authorities.

Updated 2 hours ago - Science

Nor'easter slams East Coast with flooding rain and powerful winds

A residential area in Middlesex County as floodwater from the nor'easter covers streets in New Jersey on Tuesday. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A monster storm was slamming the Northeast with record rainfall and powerful winds over Tuesday night — causing flash flooding that resulted in people having to be rescued in New Jersey and New York roads to close.

Threat level: All of southern New England westward to New York City and northern New Jersey was under the threat of flash flooding and coastal flooding from the nor'easter through Tuesday night into early Wednesday, per the National Weather Service.

2 hours ago - World

Blinken speaks with Sudan prime minister after his release

Sudan's Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok. Photo: Ebrahim Hamid/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Tony Blinken spoke on the phone on Tuesday evening with Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok after the military released him from custody.

Why it matters: Hamdok’s release was a result of pressure on Sudan’s military leader General Abdul Fattah al-Burhan from the U.S. and other countries but also from the different political parties in Sudan and massive protests in the streets.