With Title 42 – the Trump-era border management policy that allowed officials to quickly expel foreign nationals at the border due to health concerns – due to end on Monday (as part of the Biden admin's overhaul of the immigration system – that is clearly working so well), a Federal Judge from Louisiana issued a temporary restraining order blocking the Biden admin from terminating the Trump-era policy.
As we detailed previously, U.S. District Judge Robert Summerhays, a Trump appointee, announced on April 25 his intent to enter a temporary restraining order that forces the administration to keep enforcing Title 42.
He delayed the actual decision because he took issue with some of the language proposed by the states, and out of a desire to ensure the order doesn’t interfere with the “legitimate use of law enforcement discretion” afforded to immigration enforcement officials. He offered that he wanted the order to, “in the least disruptive way” address the states’ concerns.
Summerhays directed the parties to confer and try to reach an agreement on certain issues and, if they couldn’t, he said they would hold another status conference to hammer out the differences.
They apparently have not and so Summerhays granted a preliminary injunction to a group of GOP state attorneys general challenging the policy change.
In an earlier hearing, Summerhays said the plaintiff states, which include Missouri and Louisiana, have demonstrated that the federal government likely violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) with its April 1 announcement that the emergency order would be terminated in May, according to the transcript.
“I also find that the record supports a showing of immediate and irreparable harm. The states contend that the termination of the Title 42 suspension orders will result in increased costs and burdens, including increased healthcare costs. The Court concludes that the record supports these allegations and that the fact of those increased costs is sufficient to support injunctive relief,” Summerhays said.
“The Court also finds, as far as the balance of harms, that a temporary restraining order restoring the status quo to immediately prior to the April 1st order will result in little injury to the defendants, and that any such injury is outweighed by the injury caused by a result of the implementation of the April 1st order without the states having an opportunity to fully vet their APA claims, and that a temporary restraining order will not disserve the public interest.”
The states had argued in filings that the Biden administration wouldn’t suffer from a block against scaling back the order, since the administration itself delayed the termination until May 23.
As The Hill notes, the injunction is a political victory for the red states that brought suit, but it could also help the Biden administration ease pressure on immigration, as high numbers of crossings are expected to continue throughout the summer.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said last week that his agency is preparing for a possible flood of immigrants attempting to enter the United States through its southern border when Title 42 border restrictions were supposed to be lifted next week.
As we noted previously, the head of the Border Patrol union warned that drug cartels would seize “complete control” of the southern border, as a Trump-era public health order to expel illegal immigrants is to expire on Monday.
“That we just don’t have anybody in the field, that we just can’t patrol the border,” National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd said during Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom,” after being asked about the “worst-case scenario” once the law ends on May 23.
He said the Border Patrol system is running out of capacity as overwhelmed border agents will be largely held up by processing asylum-seeking illegal immigrants, either refereeing their claims or expelling them back to their home countries.
“When you look right now, we already start our shifts with 50 percent of our resources not even performing enforcement activities. They’re in administrative duties. Once this explodes, we’re going to have nearly 100 percent of our people doing administrative duties rather than enforcement duties.”
“That’s going to give complete control to the cartels. That’s a scary situation to be in,” he added.
Finally, we note that timing of the block could be very good for the Biden administration as anxiety over MonkeyPox spread begins to build.