U.S. judge blocks plan to lift COVID border restrictions for migrants
U.S. authorities cannot immediately proceed with plans to lift pandemic restrictions that empowered U.S. agents at the Mexico border to turn back migrants without a chance to seek asylum, a Louisiana-based judge said on Friday.
The nationwide injunction issued by U.S. District Judge Robert Summerhays means the restrictions, which were set to end on May 23, will remain in place across the border as the litigation proceeds, barring any appeal by the U.S. Department of Justice.
The pandemic restrictions, known as Title 42, were put in place in March 2020 during the administration of former Republican President Donald Trump, an immigration hardliner. Health authorities at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said at the time it was needed to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Since then, more than a million migrants apprehended at the border have been rapidly expelled to Mexico or other countries under the order, often within hours of being caught.