More than 20 states on Thursday asked a federal judge in Louisiana to immediately block the Biden administration from ending a public health authority, known as Title 42.
The Biden administration is on track to end Title 42 – which allows border authorities to turn away migrants at the US southern border – on May 23. The decision, made by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sparked tension within the Democratic Party amid concerns of a migrant surge.
Earlier this month, Arizona, Louisiana and Missouri filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration’s decision to end Title 42. Later, more than a dozen states, mostly GOP-led, joined the lawsuit.
In a Thursday filing, the states asked the court to intervene, arguing that the administration had begun to process migrants under immigration law instead of through the public health authority and that the states are likely to prevail on the merits of their claims.
A judge asked for the Biden administration to respond by 1 p.m. ET Friday.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told CNN on Tuesday that his department is actively preparing for a potential increase in migrants next month when the Trump-era pandemic restriction on the US-Mexico border lifts.
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Asked about the pushback from both parties on the plans to end Title 42, Mayorkas told CNN: “I say, number one, that we have plans. We are executing on those plans.”
“I think we have to be very mindful of the fact that we are addressing enemies, and those enemies are the cartels and the smugglers, and I will not provide our plans to them. We are going to proceed with our execution, carefully, methodically, in anticipating different scenarios,” he added.
Many Democrats on Capitol Hill fear rescinding the rule in May is not enough time for the administration to establish an adequate plan to handle the uptick in migrant crossings that’s expected to come with it.
US Customs and Border Protection had 221,303 encounters at the US-Mexico border in March, which marked yet another jump in arrests along the southern border. CBP has already apprehended more than 1 million people this fiscal year, which began on October 1. That includes some repeat crossers.