Though the ruling purports to apply only to family units, the language of the order could be interpreted more broadly. Sullivan granted class action status to “all noncitizens” who fall under the following criteria:
- “Are or will be in the United States;
- Come to the United States as a family unit composed of at least one child under 18 years old and that child’s parent or legal guardian; and
- Are or will be subjected to the Title 42 Process.”
The Biden administration has appealed the ruling to the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which has not acted to halt Emmet’s order. Unless the appeals court acts, the ruling takes effect Thursday, September 30. Sullivan stayed his order for 14 days when he issued it on September 16.
According to the most recent figures provided by United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP), there have been 958,795 expulsions under Title 42 through the end of August in Fiscal Year 2021. CBP says at least 108,416 of these individuals were part of a family unit.
Former President Trump invoked the statutes, which were enacted in 1944, in March 2020 to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic by preventing most immigration or travel to the United States from Mexico or Canada. Unaccompanied children were exempted from the policy in February of this year.
Sullivan issued his ruling as thousands of mostly Haitian illegal aliens poured into Del Rio earlier this month. Approximately 17,400 of those people are reportedly still in the United States waiting to claim asylum or be deported and 8,000 were sent back to Mexico. Only about 2,000 were repatriated to Haiti on deportation flights, according to Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas.
At a White House press briefing on Friday, Mayorkas restated his position that Title 42 is a public health policy as opposed to an immigration policy.
When a reporter asked the secretary whether deportations of Haitians under Title 42 are “immoral,” Mayorkas replied, “No, they are not. They are driven by a public health imperative.”
“Let me explain something, the reality of the situation, because we’re dealing with a great number of individuals who are encountered at the border in a congregate setting and placed in Customs and Border Protection, border patrol stations,” Mayorkas said, after criticizing what he called the “immorality” of the Trump administration.
“And that can cause the significant spread of a pandemic, and it is in light of the operational realities that the Centers for Disease Control made a determination in its public health expertise that Title 42 authority must be exercised.”
Opponents of the Biden administration’s continued use of Title 42 contend that it is part of Trump’s legacy of clamping down on immigration and serves no real public health purpose. Sullivan based his ruling on the Administrative Procedures Act, the Immigration and Nationality Act, and other federal laws.
Biden has been struggling between his commitment to more lenient immigration policies and the necessity for enforcement to prevent onslaughts of illegal immigration such as the one Del Rio witnessed this month.
The National Defense Reauthorization Act (NDAA) of 2022, which was passed by the United States House last week, calls the current border crisis a “national security threat.”
A copy of Sullivan’s opinion can be found below.
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- Alejandro Mayorkas
- border crisis
- border disaster
- Border Security
- Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
- Donald Trump
- Emmet G. Sullivan
- Illegal Immigration
- Joe Biden
- National Defense Reauthorization Act
- Title 42
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security
- U.S. House
Hayden Sparks is a reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."