FederalImmigration & BorderTexas Officials React to Federal Judge’s Order Requiring Continuation of Title 42 Deportations

A federal judge blocked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from ending the use of the Title 42 public health order.
May 24, 2022
Elected officials in Texas offered contrasting reactions to a federal judge’s preliminary injunction that the public health order under Title 42 of the U.S. Code must remain in effect while litigation against it proceeds.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued the order in March 2020 as a way to control the spread of COVID-19. It has been used to rapidly expel hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens along the southern border.

The CDC intended to rescind the order on Monday, but those plans were foreclosed last week when U.S. District Judge Robert Summerhays issued the preliminary injunction blocking the federal government from proceeding with the termination. 

Anthony Coley, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), indicated in a statement that the department has filed an appeal in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) invoked its authority under Title 42 due to the unprecedented public-health dangers caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Coley said.

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“CDC has now determined, in its expert opinion, that continued reliance on this authority is no longer warranted in light of the current public-health circumstances. That decision was a lawful exercise of CDC’s authority.”

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas foreshadowed the DOJ’s plans to appeal the ruling when he visited McAllen last week. The secretary outlined a “consequence regime” his department plans to implement to enforce regular immigration laws when the Title 42 order ends.

In a statement after Summerhays’ decision, Governor Greg Abbott lauded the preliminary injunction and accused President Biden of “ignoring federal law with his open border policies.”

“Texas will continue utilizing all available resources and strategies to prevent this mass illegal migration, including the deployment of Texas Department of Public Safety and Texas National Guard resources, the coordination with Mexican border governors, and the activation of the Joint Border Security Operations Center,” Abbott said. “We remain vigilant in fighting the lifting of Title 42 expulsions.”

Though Texas was not a party to the lawsuit that gave rise to the preliminary injunction, Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a separate suit on behalf of Texas. In a social media post on Monday, Paxton called Title 42 “the last vestige of federal law protecting the border.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) reacted to Summerhays’ decision by calling it “a huge win for Texas border towns, and for our country.”

“President Biden cannot have it both ways,” Cruz tweeted. “He cannot tell Americans that COVID-19 remains a threat while telling illegal immigrants that it doesn’t. Title 42 is vital for both our national and health security.”

Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-TX-16) and other opponents of the Title 42 order contend it is a relic of the Trump administration, inhumane, and impractical as an immigration strategy. 

“Title 42 must end. This ruling is shameful,” Escobar tweeted.

While the Biden administration contends that the use of Title 42 is no longer necessary, a recent poll suggests public opinion is not on the president’s side.

A survey by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and POLITICO indicated that a majority of Americans were opposed to ending the Title 42 order, though their general views on immigration were a good predictor of what they believed about Title 42.

Republicans opposed ending the Title 42 public health order by a margin of more than four to one. On the other hand, 64 percent of Democrats favored ending the order while independents were about evenly split.

The margin of error for the full sample in the survey was 3.4 percent. The survey was conducted May 6 through 9 and consisted of 1,025 randomly selected participants.


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Hayden Sparks

Hayden Sparks is a senior 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."