On Thursday, a federal court in Washington ruled that the federal government is prohibited from using a law enacted in response to the COVID pandemic to deny illegal entry into the country. U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan added that the ruling would be stayed for 14 days to allow the government to appeal the decision. Sullivan was appointed to the federal bench in 1994 by President Bill Clinton.
The law in question was enacted in March 2020 as a public health measure. Referred to as “Title 42,” the law provides a procedure for the expedited removal of most illegal aliens and their families.
The ruling will mean that families who appear at the southern border cannot be turned back to Mexico but will be processed and released while they are expected to wait for a court hearing that typically takes years to schedule.
The ruling comes in a case filed in January by the American Civil Liberties Union. The ruling had been delayed throughout the year as the court had ordered the ACLU to negotiate with the federal government regarding applying the new border restrictions.
While the case has been on hold, the ACLU identified thousands of illegals that are considered to be at risk, who were then allowed to enter the U.S. at nominally closed crossings.
The government said that it could not safely hold and process all illegals seeking entry into the country. The ACLU has taken the position that Title 42 is no longer needed as a health measure. In a statement, the organization said that COVID is no longer a safety concern at the border. The government can safely allow families to enter the country during that time.
Omar Jadwat of the ACLU’s Immigrants Rights Project said that the court was “correct” to reject Title 42 and that President Biden should have stopped enforcement of the “cruel and lawless policy long ago.”
The Department did not persuade Judge Sullivan of Homeland Security’s assertion that the government could not safely process all families crossing the southern border because of the surging delta COVID-19 variant.
AMAZING — Since the Biden administration has kicked @BillFoxLA and his team out from flying Fox News's drones along the U.S./Mexico border in Del Rio, TX, *local* law enforcement decided to get him a helicopter to hop in and go check things out to continue reporting. pic.twitter.com/pZ54my6E7o
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) September 17, 2021
The recent elevation of the crisis at the southern border seen at Del Rio, Texas, is likely to only spiral further out of control if the order from Judge Sullivan is not reversed or modified on appeal quickly.