A federal judge issued an order on Friday that placed a temporary block against the Biden administration’s plans to end enforcement of the Trump-era Title 42 public health order. The Department of Homeland Security had been set to lift enforcement of the order put in place to help contain the COVID-19 virus on Monday.
U.S. District Judge Robert Summerhays of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana granted a motion for a temporary injunction that keeps Title 42 in place. The request came in a lawsuit brought against the Biden administration by two dozen Republican-led states that was originally filed by Arizona, Louisiana, and Missouri.
Judge Summerhays was appointed to his current position by President Donald Trump in 2018.
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich praised the order, declaring that Title 42 is “one of the few policies that is actually working.” He expressed his gratitude for the judge’s decision that helps “maintain some level of sanity” in the battle to manage the “Biden-made border crisis.”
Title 42 has been in place since March 2020 when it was initiated as a measure allowing law enforcement to immediately expel most illegal migrants encountered at the border in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Biden’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced last month that it was bringing an end to the rule. The agency said that current health conditions and “increased tools” used to fight the virus led the director to suspend the application of the order.
The announcement led to bipartisan outrage, with lawmakers warning that ending Title 42 would result in an immediate surge in even more illegal crossings at the southern border, coupled with loss of the power to return them immediately to their country of origin.
The lawsuit filed by the GOP states alleges that the announced lifting of Title 42 violates the federal Administrative Procedures Act (APA) because the Biden administration did not follow the required “notice-and-comment period” rules and acted in a way that is “arbitrary and capricious.”
Judge Summerhays wrote in his order that he found the states had established that the proposed termination would result in a surge in increased illegal immigration as “high as three-fold.” He also found the federal government did not contest the assertion that ending Title 42 would substantially increase costs to the states for healthcare and education.
Biden’s Department of Justice is expected to file an immediate appeal of the ruling, with a possible request for an emergency appeal to the Supreme Court in the coming weeks possible as well. The DHS issued a statement on Friday saying that it plans to comply with Judge Summerhays order “as long as it remains in place.”