A federal appeals court on Friday ruled that the Biden administration may expel migrants under a Trump-era policy to limit the spread of COVID-19, but blocked the U.S. government from sending them to locations where they face danger.
The District of Columbia U.S. Circuit Court, in part, upheld the government’s use of Title 42, a policy put into effect in March 2020 to expel more than 1 million migrants without hearing their asylum cases since the start of the pandemic.
The panel, however, determined the families who challenged the use of Title 42 were likely to succeed on their claim that U.S. laws prevent the government from sending them back to countries where they could face harm.
Border authorities “cannot expel them [migrants] to places where they will be persecuted or tortured,” the opinion said.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which represents the plaintiffs in the case, called the ruling “an enormous victory.”
“Title 42 is illegal and inhumane. This brutal policy has resulted in serious harm to families seeking asylum — it’s past time for it to end entirely,” the organization tweeted.
The Title 42 policy was enacted by former President Donald Trump in March 2020 with the stated purpose of preventing those who cross the border illegally from potentially spreading the novel coronavirus. Unaccompanied minors are not expelled under Title 42 after a change in policy in February 2021.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, under President Joe Biden, extended the policy with plans to review it ever 60 days.
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