(NewsNation) — A federal judge on Tuesday vacated a COVID-19 pandemic-era public health policy, Title 42, that allowed U.S. officials to turn away migrants at the border.
In his 49-page opinion, Judge Emmet G. Sullivan said the policy — first instituted by former President Donald Trump’s administration and continued by President Joe Biden — was “arbitrary and capricious.”
“The National Border Patrol Council responded to the ruling, claiming the Biden administration is unprepared,” the union tweeted. “A federal judge has just ended Title 42 and the Biden Administration has done absolutely nothing to prepare for this outcome. If you think things are bad now, just wait for the s—show that’s coming.”
The decision stems from a case filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by a group of asylum-seeking families. It named Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas along with other federal officials as defendants, challenging the policy.
Lee Gelernt, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union representing immigrants challenging the policy, celebrated the decision, NewsNation partner The Hill reported.
“Title 42 has caused grave harm to thousands of desperate asylum seekers. The ruling puts an end to a policy that misused the public laws as a pretext to abandon our commitment to provide a hearing to those fleeing danger,” he said in a statement, according to The Hill.
Title 42 allowed U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents to turn away migrants with the goal of preventing the spread of COVID-19.
Critics have said the rule wasn’t meant to be used as the backbone of immigration policy. Proponents of Title 42, however, argued that lifting the policy would rob CBP of one of the only tools it has to turn away migrants as encounters at the southwest border hit record numbers.
This is a developing report. Refresh for updates.