Dueling Title 42 Court Decisions on a Single Day Make Clear: Biden Must End the Policy Once and for All

LOS ANGELES—This morning, the DC Circuit Court ruled in Huisha-Huisha v. DHS, the case challenging the use of Title 42 to expel families seeking safety, that the government cannot use the public health order to expel people back to countries where they are likely to suffer persecution or torture. While this case concerns family units, the rationale presented in the court’s decision applies to all people seeking safety, and is a promising step towards ending this inhumane policy once and for all.

An obscure provision of public health law, Title 42 was first invoked by former President Trump nearly two years ago to expel people fleeing seeking safety under the guise of protecting public health during the pandemic. Despite promising to end cruel Trump-era immigration policies on the campaign trail, President Biden and his administration have embraced and defended Title 42 in court, despite the policy being repeatedly denounced by medical professionals as having no public health rationale.

This afternoon, a district court in Texas issued another ruling on Title 42 in Texas v. Biden. This case was brought by the state of Texas against the Biden administration’s narrow exemption to Title 42 for unaccompanied noncitizen children—kids who arrive to the U.S. alone without a parent or legal guardian. The court enjoined this exemption for unaccompanied children but stayed this decision for a period of seven days. That means that no unaccompanied children can be subject to Title 42 for seven days to allow the Biden administration time to seek a longer stay.

“By using Title 42 to expel asylum seekers, both the Trump and Biden Administrations are responsible for eroding the right to asylum and endangering tens of thousands of people fleeing for their lives,” said Justice Action Center founder and director Karen Tumlin. “Indeed, Title 42 is the policy that has facilitated the swift and violent mass expulsion of nearly 20,000 Haitian asylum seekers back to life-threatening danger—many of whom suffered CBP abuse while seeking refuge in Del Rio, TX last September. These twin court decisions make clear: President Biden must end Title 42 immediately, and deliver the fair, orderly, and humane immigration system he promised to deliver on the campaign trail. What’s more, he must ensure it protects all those fleeing danger—unaccompanied children, families with children, and single adults alike. The time is long past to relegate this cruel policy to the history books.”

Representing migrant families, Huisha-Huisa v. DHS is being litigated by the ACLU, Texas Civil Rights Project, RAICES, Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, and Oxfam.

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Justice Action Center (JAC) is a new nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting for greater justice for immigrant communities by combining litigation and storytelling. JAC is committed to bringing additional litigation resources to address unmet needs, empower clients, and change the corrosive narrative around immigrants in the U.S. Learn more at justiceactioncenter.org.


Tasha Moro
Justice Action Center

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