The Biden administration is now fighting to keep in place the cruel and unsound public health order implemented by the prior administration that’s used the novel coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to quickly deport asylum-seekers in violation of their U.S. and international rights.
Judge Emmet Sullivan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia had last Thursday ordered the Biden administration to stop deporting families under Title 42 in a ruling set to go into effect in roughly two weeks. This could have dealt the policy a significant blow and allowed the administration to begin forever discarding this Stephen Miller-pushed policy. Instead, administration lawyers appealed the ruling on Friday, The Los Angeles Times reports.
“This is a disgrace,” responded RAICES Director of Litigation Tami Goodlette. The organization had won the initial victory against the anti-asylum Title 42 policy in Sullivan’s courtroom last week alongside Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), ACLU of Texas, ACLU of the District of Columbia, Texas Civil Rights Project, and Oxfam.
“By defending Title 42, the Biden administration has made it clear that is willing to deny asylum-seeking families the right to a full and fair process to receive protection in the United States,” Goodlette said. “The Biden administration has a moral obligation to stop using Title 42 to harm families and children, and it must stop using Title 42 in its entirety. We urge the White House to rectify this rash decision to appeal and end suffering for these families once and for all.”
The organization said it’s had “a front-row seat to the horrors of Title 42. Our clients are stuck in Mexico. Families fleeing violence are turned away. U.S. and international Asylum law is flouted.” Human Rights First said in a report last month that it tracked at least 6,356 acts of violence against asylum-seekers and other migrants who’ve been deported since January. “RAICES will continue to fight and call for the end of this harmful policy,” Goodlette continued.
Biden as a candidate had pledged to end the previous president’s “detrimental asylum policies,” but in August extended Miller’s anti-asylum Title 42 policy indefinitely. Groups had also attempted to negotiate with the Biden administration to lessen the policy’s harms but returned to federal court to resume legal action after hitting “an impasse,” the ACLU said at the time.
Like previously noted, this is the second time Sullivan has ruled against the anti-asylum Title 42 policy. Last November, he ordered the previous administration to stop deporting kids under the policy, ruling that “unaccompanied migrant children who are taken into custody by border officials must be afforded the safeguards Congress established for them,” CBS News reported at the time.
In last week’s decision, groups said Sullivan “ruled the plaintiffs were likely to prevail in the case, finding the Title 42 expulsion policy to be in clear violation of U.S. law and recognizing the grave harms suffered by families and children who have been subject to it.”
“Fed Ct today blocked T 42, Trump admin’s most extreme asylum policy, which unfortunately was retained by Biden,” ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt tweeted following the ruling. “SHOULD be unthinkable for Biden to appeal and seek to continue hurting desperate families. Let’s see.” The Biden administration has now indeed done the unthinkable and appealed the order. “With each anti-Immigrant Trump Policy that @POTUS refuses to end, he is not only breaking his campaign promise to secure our values as a nation of immigrants, but @JoeBiden is owning these policies,” tweeted #WelcomeWithDignity Campaign Manager Celia Melina Roche.
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