Frustrated With Biden, Pro-Migrant Groups ask Court to Block Border Expulsions

WASHINGTON (Reuters) —

Pro-migrant groups frustrated with President Joe Biden’s continued use of an “inhumane” Trump-era expulsion policy for migrant families will seek to block it in court, the groups said on Monday, deepening the president’s challenges on the U.S.-Mexico border.

The groups will restart litigation over Biden’s use of the so-called Title 42 order that allows U.S. officials to send
migrants back to Mexico without the chance to seek asylum or other protections in the United States.

The outcome of the court case could complicate the Biden administration’s efforts to deal with a 20-year high in migrant arrests at the southern border. It has relied heavily on the support of these pro-migrant groups to help it garner public support for Biden’s vision of a more humane and orderly immigration system.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the leading group representing migrant families barred under the expulsion order, said in a joint court filing with the U.S. Department of Justice on Monday that negotiations to resolve the matter had “reached an impasse” and that a lawsuit to halt the policy should resume.

Biden, a Democrat who took office in January, has rolled back many of the hardline immigration measures of his Republican predecessor, former President Donald Trump. However, Biden has kept in place a March 2020 health order known as Title 42 that allows the United States to expel migrants encountered at its borders.

Pro-migrant groups and some Democrats have criticized Biden over his willingness to expel migrants, including families and vulnerable asylum seekers, to danger in Mexico. The attacks from allies have undercut Biden’s assertion that he is seeking to create a more humane immigration system.

In a statement, the pro-migrant groups called the Title 42 policy “inhumane” and “illegal” and said the Biden
administration left them no choice but to resume a legal fight over the order that had been put on pause in February for negotiations.

“The administration is choosing to treat refugees like political pawns, and so we are eager to return to court so we can end Title 42 for families once and for all,” said Noah Gottschalk, global policy lead for Oxfam America, one of the groups involved in the litigation.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment but has said Title 42 is necessary to help curb the spread of COVID-19. Many public healthcare experts, however, have challenged that, saying there is no scientific data to support that rationale.

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