The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Thursday issued a preliminary injunction preventing the Biden administration from using Title 42 public health protections to deport migrant families at the border.

Title 42 allows border patrol and U.S. customs to ban people who potentially pose a health risk from entering the country. The Trump and Biden administrations had both used these public health protections to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other immigrant rights groups resumed legal action in August against the federal government over controversial immigration policy. In their request for collective certification, the applicants asserted that families seeking asylum in the United States have the right to hearings during which they can assert their asylum claims.

Federal judge Emmet Sullivan Thursday granted the plaintiffs’ petitions for group certification and a preliminary group-wide injunction. In granting the preliminary injunction, Sullivan noted that the Refugee Act and article 3 of the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment provided primary protections for asylum seekers.

Federal law has historically enabled federal officials to prevent the spread of contagious diseases from foreign countries. However, the plaintiffs in the case argued that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) orders instituting the Title 42 process exceeded the authority granted by Congress. The court agreed that nothing in Article 265 of Title 42 “purports to authorize evictions, let alone evictions in violation of” legal procedures and humanitarian protections. “

The court found that the plaintiffs had shown that they were likely to succeed on the merits of their claim and that they risked irreparable harm in the absence of an injunction, through reports and multiple claims that their countries of origin “are among the most dangerous in the world because of gangs.” , gender, family membership and other identity-based violence.

Although the court granted the preliminary injunction, it stayed its order for 14 days from the date of entry “to give the defendants sufficient time to explore their appeal options.”

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