A federal judge in Louisiana is poised to rule on one of the biggest challenges to President Biden’s effort to end COVID-era restrictions for migrants seeking asylum.
U.S. District Judge Robert R. Summerhays heard arguments Friday from 21 states looking to stop the end of Title 42 as well as the U.S. Justice Department which says the Centers for Disease Control is within its authority to end the policy without public comment.
Title 42 started in March 2020 when then CDC director Robert Redfield invoked the policy which prevented asylum seekers from entering the U.S. on the grounds of trying to limit the spread of COVID-19.
President Joe Biden announced in April a plan to end Title 42 by May 23, citing reduced cases and widespread availability of vaccines and therapeutics.
Arizona, Louisiana and Missouri filed lawsuits and were soon joined by 18 additional states that argued the policy cannot end without a public comment period, something required by administrative policy.
Texas filed a separate lawsuit on its own in the same Western District of Louisiana court.
The states argued without a chance for the public to weigh in, the administration is underplaying the impact ending the policy could have on border agents, the health care system and would lead to increased border crossings.
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Fernando Dubove is a Dallas-based immigration attorney watching the federal case in Louisiana closely.
“In the case of Title 42, the big concern is these folks are on that side of the wall for a long time, they’ve been there a long time, so I think President Biden is moving to try and keep some of his election promises,” Dubove said. “Litigation is basically the way to slow these things down.”