By DAN MCCALEB
THE CENTER SQUARE EXECUTIVE EDITOR
(The Center Square) — A federal judge in Louisiana on Monday blocked the Biden administration from ending the enforcement of a COVID-era policy that allowed U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents to quickly deport illegal immigrants over health concerns during the pandemic.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced April 1 it was ending Title 42 enforcement May 23, raising significant concerns among both Republicans and a growing number of Democrats that already inflated numbers of illegal border crossings under the Biden administration would spike even further.
Shortly after the CDC announcement, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt sued. The attorneys general from 18 other states have since joined the lawsuit.
A hearing was held Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, and Judge Robert Summerhays said he was issuing a temporary restraining order against the administration.
“For the reasons stated on the record, the Court announced its intent to grant the motion,” the judge said. “The parties will confer regarding the specific terms to be contained in the Temporary Restraining Order and attempt to reach agreement.”
After the ruling, Louisiana AG Landry called ending Title 42 enforcement an “enormous threat.”
“Joe Biden’s reckless decision to rescind Title 42 would have flooded our already stressed southern border with illegal immigrants,” Mr. Landry said in a statement. “Fortunately, today a judge has granted our request to halt this enormous threat to our national security. We will continue to ensure that citizenship means something and that those in this country illegally are not conferred greater rights than our citizens.”
Before Monday’s ruling, the Department of Homeland Security said it was putting in place measures to prepare for up to 18,000 people a day to illegally cross Mexico’s border with the U.S. once Title 42 was lifted.
This estimate is in addition to the roughly 2 million people who were apprehended or encountered by Border Patrol agents in Biden’s first year in office while Title 42 was in place. All encounter numbers exclude “gotaways,” those who evade capture and don’t surrender at ports of entry.
Attorney General Schmitt also hailed the decision.
“This is a huge victory for border security, but the fight continues on,” he tweeted.