A Texas judge has ruled that the Biden administration cannot exempt children from a Trump-era order that has been used to rapidly deport hundreds of thousands of migrants – including children – in response to the COVID pandemic.
During the early part of the pandemic, former President Trump launched “Title 42,” a controversial public health policy that would allow the US to immediately expel migrants who came to the border. The Border Patrol has continued to implement Title 42 under the Biden administration, how President Biden has allowed an exception for unaccompanied migrant children.
However, according to CBS News, Texas District Court Judge Mark Pittman, a Trump appointee, recently ruled against the Title 42 exemption.
Pittman said that the Biden administration did not thoroughly justify the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention orders that codified the exclusion of unaccompanied minors from Title 42, calling them “arbitrary and capricious,” CBS reported.
Pittman also argued that Texas had been financially hit as a result of the exemptions due to education and medical costs for the migrant children allowed to remain living in the state under Biden’s exemption.
Pittman’s decision on marks the latest instance in which Texas has successfully blocked Biden administration immigration initiatives.
A judge in the state blocked a 100-day moratorium on deportations back in February, and the Supreme Court sided with the state in August in a battle to reimplement what is formally known as the Migrant Protection Protocols, one of the most controversial Trump-era immigration programs.
The Biden administration has expelled hundreds of thousands of migrants under Title 42, which they have argued is necessary for public health purposes. However, the administration has been against using the policy to expel unaccompanied children, choosing instead to transfer them to shelters run by the Department of Health and Human Services.
It’s unknown whether the Biden administration will start expelling unaccompanied children at the border in light of Pittman’s ruling. Around 16,000 minors were expelled under the policy during the Trump administration before a judge blocked the policy in November 2020, according to CBS.