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Judge blocks Title 42 limits at border

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The White House referred POLITICO to a statement from the Department of Homeland Security, which said the Department of Justice filed an unopposed stay motion Tuesday night, requesting a five-week delay before having to lift Title 42. The plaintiffs agreed to the request, but it will ultimately be up to the judge to decide whether or not to grant the stay.

“The delay in implementation of the court’s order will allow the government to prepare for an orderly transition to new policies at the border. But to be clear, under the unopposed motion, Title 42 would remain in place for some period. During the period of this freeze, we will prepare for an orderly transition to new policies at the border,” the DHS statement said.

The pandemic-related health order tied to longstanding quarantine powers dating from the 1940s was implemented during the Trump administration, but the Biden administration has continued to expand the policy, most recently using it to expel Venezuelan migrants crossing the border illegally as part of its new humanitarian parole program for them.

Both administrations seem to have relied on the health-related authority to limit flows of migrants for reasons having little to do with the spread of disease. However, in May of this year the Biden administration was set to lift the restrictions, only to be stymied by a Louisiana-based federal judge acting on a lawsuit brought by 24 Republican-led states.

U.S. District Judge Robert R. Summerhays, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, blocked the Biden administration’s move to lift Title 42, a decision the Department of Justice appealed.

As POLITICO reported this spring, Summerhays’ ruling was met with a sigh of relief inside the White House. The Southern border continues to be a challenge for the Biden administration, as concerns remain about the nation’s immigration system and whether it could handle the influx of migrants upon the end of Title 42.

But the continued use of the policy has been a tension point between the White House and immigrant advocates, who have accused the Biden administration of continuing to employ the Trump playbook.

During the 2020 campaign, President Joe Biden promised to build a “fair and humane” immigration system, vowing to put an end to Trump-era deportation policies such as Title 42.