A federal judge on Wednesday temporarily blocked President Joe Biden’s plan to wind down Title 42, a pandemic-era rule through which U.S. Customs and Border Protection can quickly turn away or expel migrants, after several states demanded the contentious Trump-era policy remain in place.
Judge Robert Summerhays of Louisiana issued a two-week temporary restraining order to block the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from implementing its “Title 42 termination order,” which is set to go into effect May 23.
While the order does not prohibit the Biden Administration from terminating Title 42 on that date, it does stop the Department of Homeland Security from beginning to wind down the policy before then—a wind-down the 21 plaintiff states in the case say was premature, alleging DHS had essentially already abandoned the policy.
Summerhays’ order expires in 14 days, but he scheduled a May 13 preliminary injunction hearing to potentially order a more extensive halt of the termination plan.
Title 42 enables the U.S. Surgeon General to stop immigration if it is deemed to be in the best interest of the public health. In March 2020, former President Donald Trump began using the rule to rapidly expel immigrants, mostly along the U.S.-Mexico border, and the Biden Administration has continued to use this policy to expel most single adults who are arrested after crossing the border. The 21 states that called for the block of Title 42’s termination—mostly governed by Republicans—say migration and drug trafficking could spike if the plan is canceled without proper preparation. But the policy is controversial, with some Democrats and immigration advocates arguing Title 42 makes it difficult for migrants to seek asylum in the United States.