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President Biden’s administration will comply with an upcoming order from a federal judge in Louisiana that is expected to block the removal of COVID-19 border restrictions.
The restrictions, known as Title 42, are a Trump-era health measure that has been used to deport more than 1 million migrants. The Biden administration had previously planned to end Title 42 on May 23, a move that would have resulted in a surge in illegal immigration.
A Louisiana district court judge has announced plans to block such a move until Biden negotiates a deal with Republican border states. A senior administration official said the White House plans to comply with that order Tuesday, according to Politico.
“If and when the court issues the TRO [temporary restraining order] the department is planning to comply with that order,” the official said, going on to complain about the decision. “It really makes no sense to us that the plaintiffs would demand, and the court would order, that [Department of Homeland Security] be stopped in its use in expedited removal, which is going to prevent us from adequately preparing for the aggressive applications for immigration law when public health expires.”
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a plan on how to deal with post-Title 42 surges in migration on Tuesday.
Border Patrol vehicles are stationed at a popular crossing point for migrants from Central America on April 29, 2021, near Yuma, Arizona. (Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)
The plan would surge resources for medical support and transportation at the border, but it is not significantly different from what DHS released when it first announced plans to end Title 42 on April 1.
Both Republican and Democratic members of Congress expressed concern with that plan earlier in April, however. Democratic Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly said flat out on April 16 that the DHS plan was inadequate.
“The administration hasn’t even prepared, and they don’t have a plan for what to expect. Forget about the unexpected part, I’m just asking for the first part of this,” Kelly told Fox News Digital at the time. “We know what the situation on the ground is going to be. Let’s come up with a detailed plan and put it in place – and I just haven’t seen that.”
The Biden administration says it is preparing to handle up to 18,000 migrants per day in the event of Title 42’s end. March saw 210,000 attempted border crossings, and those numbers are expected to surge in the coming weeks and months.