September 16, 2021 / Modified sep 16, 2021 5 p.m.

Judge orders government to stop expelling families under Trump-era border policy

Biden administration has continued to use Title 42 to send migrants back to Mexico almost immediately after apprehension.

360 border patrol vehicle fence File image of a Border Patrol vehicle on patrol along the Arizona-Mexico border.
AZPM Staff

A federal judge in Washington D.C. has given the government two weeks to stop turning away asylum seeking families under Title 42 — a Trump-era border policy that the Biden administration has continued.

Title 42 was enacted in March of 2020 at the onset of the pandemic and allows border officers to send migrants they apprehend back to Mexico almost immediately.

The Biden administration has continued to use it on almost all single adults and some families. But today’s court order rules the government cannot use Title 42 to turn away families and subsequently deny the right to seek asylum.

"To some extent the ball is really in the government’s court to decide how to handle this from here. Whether to appeal or approach us for any further discussions," said Stephen Kang of the ACLU — one of the groups who brought the suit.

His organization and other advocacy groups first sued in January and resumed last month after negotiations with the Biden administration fell apart.

Kang says the ruling is a positive step forward, but if the government decides to appeal, the two-week deadline could be extended.

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