EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — A federal judge in Louisiana ruled Friday that the Biden administration must continue expelling migrants at the border under Title 42.
Invoked at the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, Title 42 has allowed U.S. Border Patrol agents and U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers to immediately expel migrants from the U.S. without giving them a chance to request asylum.
As of the end of April, migrants have been expelled under Title 42 order more than 1.9 million times. Because the migrants face expulsion without a record of the removal, many attempt to cross more than once, officials say.
Title 42 is the World War II-era public health order that prohibits entry into the United States if the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believes it could introduce communicable diseases into the country.
Led by Arizona and Louisiana, 24 states in challenged the White House’s plans to end Title 42, arguing that the Biden administration “failed to consider the effects of a Title termination on immigration enforcement and the states.”
The Biden administration planned to end Tite 42 on Monday, but Judge Robert Summerhays’ ruling Friday will keep the restrictions in place while the lawsuit makes its way through the court.
The states argue that the termination of Title 42 “will result in a surge of border crossings, and that this surge will result in an increase in illegal immigrants residing in the states.” The plaintiffs also worry that using Title 8 to process migrants apprehended at the border will result in their release.
The Department of Homeland Security predicted that as many as 18,000 migrants per day would try to cross if Title 42 were lifted, something the plaintiffs used to argue against a repeal of Title 42.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials stopped migrants 234,088 times on the Mexican border in April, one of the highest in decades and a 5.8% increase from 221,303 in March, according to figures released this week.
During oral arguments on May 13, lawyers for the states outlined how an increase in illegal immigration could affect their state. They highlighted the number of undocumented immigrants in their state, the numbers who are uninsured, those who are below the poverty line and what it costs taxpayers.
Virginia, for example, has anywhere between 251,000 and 337,800 undocumented immigrants living in the state, lawyers said, adding that 61 percent of them are uninsured and cost taxpayers $1.7 billion a year.
Citing a report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), the American Immigration Council has noted that, “undocumented immigrants pay taxes. Like everyone else in the United States they pay sales taxes. They also pay property taxes—even if they rent.”
“The best evidence suggests that at least 50 percent of undocumented immigrant households currently file income tax returns using Individual Tax Identification Numbers (ITINs), and many who do not file income tax returns still have taxes deducted from their paychecks.” according to the report.
Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Texas, issued a statement following a federal court’s preliminary injunction, again accusing the Biden administration of implementing “open border policies.”
“Another federal court announced today what we have known all along: President Biden is ignoring federal law with his open border policies,” Abbott said. “While today’s court ruling rejecting President Biden’s ending of Title 42 expulsions is a positive development, hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants remain at our southern border ready to flood into Texas.”
Abbott said Texas will continue utilizing all available resources and strategies to prevent an influx of immigrants. Texas has deployed the Texas Department of Public Safety and Texas National Guard to the border and has coordinated with Mexican border governors.
On Friday, Abbott activated the Joint Border Security Operations Center.
“We remain vigilant in fighting the lifting of Title 42 expulsions, Abbott said.
The American Immigration Council issued a statement on Friday, rejecting Summerhays’ ruling. “We strongly condemn today’s decision to block the end of Title 42, which will continue to negatively impact asylum seekers and fuel chaos at the border,” the statement read. “Congress must resist attempts to legislatively extend the counterproductive Title 42 policy.”
Hours before Friday’s ruling, Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, senior policy counsel at the American Immigration Council, said on Twitter that he believed would not end until 2023 “at the earliest.”
“Even though Title 42 is a counterproductive and harmful policy which caused chaos at the border, it is likely to stick around until at least 2023,” he said. “As a result, today’s likely decision should eliminate concerns some members of Congress have about giving DHS time to prepare.”
The Associated Press contributed to this story.