Legal experts weigh in on Title 42 following federal court rulings

Two federal court rulings last Friday has caused confusion regarding asylum-seeking migrants in the U.S.

Denise Gilman, an immigration law professor at the University of Texas at Austin, says sending migrants who are seeking asylum in the U.S. back to the country they fled appears to be political.

“Even the authorities at the Centers for Disease Control, who implemented the policy initially, have always questioned whether it was really a policy that was needed for public health reasons,” Gilman said.

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On Friday, a federal appeals court in Washington D.C. ruled to keep migrant families from being expelled while also upholding Title 42, the public health directive that expels migrants in order to avoid spreading the coronavirus in the U.S.

Some attorneys don’t think any of that is necessary.

“People can fly into the country or drive into the country every single day, and yet they’re not subject to expulsion,” said Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, an immigration attorney with the American Immigration Council.

Also on Friday, a U.S. district judge in Texas ruled President Biden was in the wrong to allow unaccompanied children to stay in the U.S., instead of sending them back to Mexico or their country of origin. It’s something that has been putting the lives of migrants in danger the moment they enter Mexico, Gilman said.

“Very, very shortly and within blocks of being returned by U.S. government officials to Mexico, have been kidnapped,” Gilman said. “Some of them describe that exact same house that they were held in.”

Judge Justin Walker, an appeals judge appointed by former President Trump, wrote that it was far from clear that the CDC order serves any purpose for protecting public health.

U.S. immigration officials have expelled migrants more than a million and a half times since March 2020, and on April 2, the CDC will analyze whether to keep Title 42 in place for another 60 days.