Thursday, July 7, 2022

The U.S. Can No Longer Deport Migrant Families to Countries Where They Could be Harmed

Last week, a federal court affirmed the government’s authority to expel migrants under the rump-era “Title 42” order but prohibited border officials from deporting families to countries where they might face persecution.

Title 42 was first invoked because of the COVID-19 pandemic by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) back in March 2020. The three-judge panel said that the order allows the deportation of families, without any legal justification, during a public health emergency.

Both the Trump and the Biden Administration have alleged that the order is needed to reduce the spread of COVID-19 inside border facilities. Under Title 42, migrants are sent back to their country of origin without the opportunity to ask for humanitarian refuge before an immigration judge or asylum officer.

While the court’s ruling rejects the American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) argument that Title 42 does not authorize expulsions, it could require the government to screen migrant families to make sure they are not fleeing violence – which could undermine the public health justification for the order, since migrants would have to spend longer time under custody surrounded by others.

The ruling applies only to migrant families traveling with minor children, not single adults. The Biden Administration has not been expelling unaccompanied children under Title 42.

“Title 42 can no longer be used to summarily expel families seeking refuge from persecution or torture,” stated Lee Gelernt, ACLU’s attorney who submitted the lawsuit against Title 42. He celebrated last week’s ruling as an “enormous victory” for asylum seekers.

CBS News