Federal Louisiana judge says he'll rule on ending Title 42 before May 23
LAFAYETTE, Louisiana — A Louisiana federal judge said he'll rule on whether to block the Biden administration's plan to rescind Title 42 before the order is set to be lifted.
Western District of Louisiana Federal Judge Robert R. Summerhays heard about two hours of arguments Friday morning from a group of 24 states seeking to bar the Centers for Disease Control and Protection from lifting Title 42 on May 23.
He previously issued a temporary restraining order after the states filed suit blocking the Biden administration from lifting Title 42. That order will remain in place until he rules on the preliminary injunction.
The public health order created under the Trump administration allows Customs and Border Protection to expel migrants to Mexico or back to their home countries to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in holding facilities.
More than 1 million people were expelled under Title 42 in fiscal year 2021. The Biden administration said they are preparing for an increased number of people coming to the U.S.-Mexico border after the policy ends.
Arizona, Louisiana and Missouri led the coalition against the CDC and other government agencies arguing by lifting Title 42, the states' healthcare, law enforcement and education systems would be overly burdened by an influx of illegal immigrants.
In his arguments before Summerhays, Arizona Deputy Solicitor General Drew Ensign said the CDC didn't consider those factors before deciding to lift Title 42.
He also said the CDC didn't meet the notice-and-comment requirements under the Administrative Procedure Act.
Jean Lin, who represented the defendants, argued that the CDC was allowed to end Title 42 because it was enacted as part of the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic and not part of immigration policy. Ending Title 42 was at the discretion of the CDC director, she said.
She also said the order was a short-term policy and wasn't required to have a notice-and-comment period.
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Summerhays questioned Ensign's arguments about an increased burden to law enforcement systems and whether lifting Title 42 could be directly tied to an increase in drug smuggling across the border.
He acknowledged the president for burdens on healthcare and education systems.
Summerhays asked Lin whether because there was no set date for Title 42 to expire, but rather a rolling period of review, a notice-and-comment period would overlap with an expiration. Lin said it would not but instead would artificially extend Title 42.
Summerhays also heard arguments from a party that wished to intervene in the matter. He ruled it could not intervene but instead file its supporting arguments in a brief.
The party argued that if Summerhays rules in favor of the states that his ruling should only apply to those states and not apply nationwide to states that were not included in the lawsuit.
Summerhays questioned if he made that decision whether immigrants could enter a state that had lifted Title 42 and then travel to a state where the ban still remained and then burden that state's systems.