A federal judge in Louisiana temporarily blocked on Wednesday the US government’s plan to end Title 42, a controversial immigration rule that allows US border officials to deport certain migrants without court hearings.
The court decision was in response to a lawsuit filed by 21 Republican-led states, which asked US District Judge Robert Summerhays to issue a temporary restraining order against any move to lift the measure. Summerhays, on Wednesday, agreed to issue a 14-day restraining order to stop border officials from winding down the policy.
US President Joe Biden had planned to end Title 42 on May 23. Following the ruling, the government announced that it will comply with the court order.
Title 42 was introduced in 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic by the Donald Trump administration, which justified the emergency measure on public health grounds. The policy allows border officials to expedite the deportation process, sometimes in a matter of hours, in what is called express deportations or expedited removals. Under Title 42, undocumented migrants who arrive from Mexico can be automatically deported without being given the opportunity to request asylum.
Since its implementation in March 2020, the United States has used Title 42 more than 1.8 million times to deport undocumented migrants to Mexico or their countries of origin, according to government data.