Judge Sullivan blocks the use of Title 42 to expel families at the border
Last Thursday, Judge Emmet Sullivan ordered a stop to the expulsion of families under Title 42 on the grounds that the policy denies them their rights to humanitarian relief under the law, and that they are “likely to suffer irreparable harm.”
In his decision, Judge Sullivan wrote, “in view of the wide availability of testing, vaccines, and other minimization measures, the Court is not convinced that the transmission of COVID-19 during border processing cannot be significantly mitigated. Indeed, the government has successfully implemented mitigation measures with regard to processing unaccompanied minors in order to minimize risk of COVID-19 transmission.”
The ruling specifically addresses families with minor children, and does not apply to single adults. CBP data indicates that 16,240 family unit members were expelled under Title 42 in the month of August, and over 100,000 have been expelled since the fiscal year began in October 2020.
Judge Sullivan issued an injunction for 14 days to allow the Biden administration to appeal, which they did within 24 hours of the ruling.
Biden administration has resumed deportation flights to Haiti amidst large numbers of arrivals
Despite granting a new TPS designation in May 2021 to Haitians in the U.S. due to “serious security concerns, social unrest, an increase in human rights abuses, crippling poverty, and lack of basic resources, which are exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Biden administration has resumed deportations of Haitians. Last week, ICE “repatriated” approximately 90 Haitians by air on Wednesday, and on Sunday three deportation flights were sent to Haiti with 145 people on each flight.
Large numbers of Haitians have been arriving at the southern border this year amidst political unrest, the assassination of their president, and a devastating earthquake that hit the country in mid-August. Many are also arriving after spending some time in Brazil or other South American countries, but have now moved on due to worsening economic conditions and racial discrimination in those nations. The New York Times reported that nearly 28,000 Haitians have been encountered by CBP this year, which is a significant increase compared to 4,395 in 2020 and 2,046 in 2019.
In recent weeks, many of these arriving Haitians have crossed the border near Del Rio, Texas, where a growing number have been forced to await processing under the international bridge. There were reports over the weekend that the encampment had grown to as many as 14,800 migrants. Border officials closed the bridge in Del Rio, and began transporting the migrants to other locations to begin deportation processing. El Paso Times reported harsh deterrence attempts from officials at the U.S. southern border, including officers on horseback charging at migrants with whips.
NBC News reported on Monday that the administration will be prioritizing single adults and “some Haitian families” for deportation, and will begin conducting 6 to 8 deportation flights per day starting on Tuesday. Furthermore, they will complete the deportations rapidly without prior Covid testing. Administration officials are reportedly checking deportation flight manifests to ensure that those eligible for TPS -- including Haitians who were already present in the U.S. as of July 29th -- are not deported.
The Senate parliamentarian decided that immigration reform cannot be included in the reconciliation bill
The Democrats’ plans to include a path to citizenship for Dreamers, TPS holders, and essential workers in the budget reconciliation process faced a significant challenge this week as the Senate parliamentarian released her decision stating that the reforms do not qualify for the reconciliation process. She wrote that the reform would be a “tremendous and enduring policy change that dwarfs its budgetary impact.”
Senators Durbin and Padilla issued a statement on Sunday that while they are disappointed in this decision, they have “prepared alternative proposals for the Parliamentarian’s consideration in the coming days.”