Biden calls for keeping COVID restrictions in place for migrants at US-Mexico border

WASHINGTON, Dec 7 (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration said on Wednesday it would ask a federal court to keep pandemic-era restrictions in place for migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border, a reversal striking after seeking to end restrictions this spring.

The administration, in a court filing, said it wants a higher court to overturn a November ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan striking down an order known as Title 42, which blocks certain asylum seekers at the border.

The administration also said the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was working on a regulation to formalize border restrictions.

Issued in March 2020 under former Republican President Donald Trump, Title 42 allows U.S. authorities to quickly deport migrants apprehended at the border to Mexico or other countries without the ability to seek asylum. Sullivan said the order, which had the stated purpose of curbing the spread of COVID-19, violated federal regulatory law.

Biden, a Democrat who took office in 2021, has pledged to roll back Trump’s asylum restrictions. But his administration initially kept order in place for more than a year amid record arrests of migrants at the US-Mexico border. In May, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention decided to end Title 42, saying it was no longer needed for public health reasons, but could not end it due to of legal challenges.

After Sullivan ruled Title 42 was invalid, he gave the administration until December 21 to prepare for its liquidation.

US officials are preparing for a possible increase in illegal border crossings if Title 42 ends.

The decision to appeal comes as the Biden administration weighs the use of other Trump-like measures to deter migrants, drawing rebuke from immigration advocates.

The appeal comes as a coalition of states with Republican attorneys general seek to intervene in the lawsuit to keep Title 42 in place.

Reporting by Ted Hesson in Washington; Editing by Mica Rosenberg and Aurora Ellis

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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