(Trends Wide) — The United States Court of Appeals for the Washington Circuit on Thursday suspended a lower court order that would have forced the Biden administration to stop expelling migrant families with children at the border under a public health authority linked to the pandemic.
The Biden administration may continue to expel migrant families with minors as the case progresses.
“We are disappointed in the ruling, but it is only an initial step in the appeals litigation, and nothing is stopping the Biden administration from immediately repealing this horrible Trump-era policy,” said Lee Gelernt, lead attorney for the ACLU at the litigation, in a statement.
The public health authority, known as Title 42, was invoked at the start of the coronavirus pandemic and has been criticized by immigrant advocates, lawyers and health experts who argue that it does not have a health base and puts migrants in danger.
The Biden administration had been preparing for an appeals court decision on whether migrant families may be subject to Title 42. In early September, a federal judge in Washington blocked the administration from expelling the families under the order, a great defeat for the administration. But the court gave the administration 14 days to prepare before it took effect. That deadline was Thursday.
The Justice Department appealed and warned of a surge in migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border in case families cannot be removed, saying border facilities are not equipped to handle an influx in the midst of a pandemic.
Since the authority was implemented, more than 958,000 migrants have been quickly expelled at the southern border of the United States.
In the ruling earlier this month, the federal judge held that there are enough steps that can be taken to mitigate the spread of covid-19. “In view of the wide availability of tests, vaccines and other minimization measures, the Court is not convinced that the transmission of covid-19 during border processing cannot be significantly mitigated,” the ruling noted.