Title 42 policy. Illustration.
Shelle Ann-Simon

Shelle Ann-Simon

Title 42 policy’s fate to be defined in Louisiana Federal Court

Although the general future of this policy is hotly debated now in Congress, the short-term decision on whether to keep or not the Title 42 policy in place is being decided in Louisiana Federal Court.

A heated debate has been taking place on Capitol Hill, seat of the United States Senate. Democratic and Republican congressmen have conflicting opinions regarding the controversial Title 42 policy, and Republicans are pressing for the Senate to vote and decide whether to continue with the measure.

However, the continuity of this emergency health policy will in principle be determined – at least in the short term – by what is determined by Louisiana federal court judge Robert Summerhays, who was appointed to his current position by former President Donald Trump.

The Demand From The Republican States

The states of Louisiana, Arizona and Missouri were the first to initiate legal action to stop the discontinuation of the Title 42 policy as soon as the Biden administration announced the CDC’s decision to end said emergency measure. And at least a dozen other federal states decided to join the lawsuit, using the same reasons as the original trio.

Most argue that the presidential administration has not given sufficient explanation to justify ending the Title 42 policy. The main argument to maintain said measure consists in that its elimination would give rise to a shortage of resources of the states, created by the uncontrolled influx of migrants.

What Happened at the Last Hearing

Last Friday, a hearing was held where the plaintiff states presented their position before the judge, and the Department of Justice defended the CDC’s decision. Judge Summerhays questioned officials Drew Ensign, deputy attorney general of Arizona, a spokesperson for the plaintiff states, and Jean Lin, a lawyer representing the Department of Justice.

Lin emphatically defended that the Title 42 policy was always an emergency measure in relation to the pandemic situation and that it is the CDC that has the authority to implement or terminate the measure. As Lin argued, there is no precedent for using the Title 42 policy as a “safety valve” to stop migration.

Title 42 policy. Illustration.

What does this mean for the Senate?

A decision in court will have a short-term impact on the deliberations of the Senate since a judicial verdict will be enough to placate the Republicans who demand a vote of senators to determine the future of the measure. However, with the elections on the horizon and the immigration policies in dispute in the face of the humanitarian crisis that exists on the border, everything seems to indicate that what the judge decides will only be a glass of cold water in front of a live bonfire. which is far from fading away.

If the Republicans intend to make the Title 42 policy established law, they will have to go for a codification in the Senate. Although the Democrats have the majority, internal divisions prevent them from winning that vote if it were to happen. We have already seen a bipartisan proposal that precisely aims to establish new conditions to remove the Title 42 policy, promoted by Democrat Kyrsten Sinema and Republican James Lankford.

In any case, it seems like partisans of keeping the policy in place will not yield easily unless some form of consensus is reached in Senate, something unlikely to happen as the rift between both parties gets larger. Democrats will have to address many of the root issues behind these unfair immigration policies in order to lawfully and unquestionably terminate Title 42.

If you are in need of immigration legal advice, do not hesitate to contact us! At the Law Office of Shelle-Ann Simon we have wide experience in immigration proceedings, family law, and personal injury and have successfully defended our clients for over 10 years. Contact us through our website or give us a call at 281-606-5362!

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