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Federal judge rules Title 42 will remain in place, officials weigh in

Undocumented Immigrants AP Photo Dario Lopez-Mills.jpeg
Posted at 2:26 PM, May 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-21 02:02:45-04

NOGALES, Ariz. (KGUN/AP) — A federal judge in Louisiana is refusing to end pandemic-related restrictions on migrants seeking asylum on the southern border.

The judge on Friday blocked a plan by President Joe Biden’s administration to lift the restrictions next Monday.

Migrants have been expelled more than 1.9 million times since March 2020 under federal Title 42 authority.

The provision denies migrants a chance to request asylum under U.S. law and international treaty on grounds of preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Senator Mark Kelly (D) visited Yuma, Ariz. Friday to meet with U.S. Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Customs and Border Protection officials.

They discussed the federal court's decision on Title 42.

He expressed the following:

For too long, Arizonans have paid the price for Washington’s failure to plan ahead and secure the border.

Today’s decision does not change the fact that there is a crisis at the border and there must be a detailed plan that can be implemented before Title 42 is lifted.

Arizonans deserve a secure, orderly, and humane border response and I will continue to hold the administration accountable to that.

Pima County Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bronson added to the conversation.

Her comment is as follows:

Whether Title 42 is ended or remains in place, Pima County will continue to work with our community partners, Southern Arizona border communities, and the federal government to ensure asylum seekers brought to Tucson by the Department of Homeland Security are provided shelter, food, and medical care, if needed, while transportation to the cities of their sponsors elsewhere in the country is arranged.

In the meantime, County leaders will continue to encourage the federal government to find better solutions for the disposition of asylum seekers than releasing them in border communities which then have to marshal limited local resources to provide the asylees necessary aid. Until such a solution is in place, Pima County and its partner agencies will continue to treat people with legal standing to be in the United States with the dignity and respect they deserve.

Attorney General Mark Brnovich also chimed.

He said the following about the decision:

From day one, the Biden administration has been chipping away at our border defenses. Title 42 has been a key target in his agenda.

In the first eight months, the Biden administration expelled less and less migrants under Title 42—from 82% to 45%. But he didn’t stop there.

Title 42 has been one of our only tools to dissuade migrants from joining the Cartels’ smuggling ring to enter America. The Biden administration openly admits this, which makes it all the more concerning that on April 1st, knowing the surge that revoking Title 42 would encourage, they went ahead and rescinded it anyway.

Without a plan in place or an alternative to address the surge that would come, the Biden administration relinquished our last line of defense to the Cartels and their violent lawlessness. We had until May 23rd to respond to the Biden administration’s reckless move if we were to keep Title 42 in place.

That’s why as Arizona’s Attorney General, I sued the Biden administration so that we could preserve for America one of our last tools for defending ourselves.

Today we were successful.

The courts prevented Biden from revoking Title 42 for now. And though this isn’t the last time we will need to defend our border laws, I will always stay on task.

When Biden comes after Arizona again, I will—either as the Attorney General or as our next Senator—defeat Biden’s agenda and stop his administration in their tracks.

Arizona and Louisiana led 24 states in challenging the plan to end the restrictions.

Many see the ruling as a win for border security, calling the current situation at the border a "crisis."

“I was quite pleased that common sense has prevailed,” said Shelley Kais, chair of the Pima County Republican Party. “And the human trafficking and the drugs and the fentanyl that are coming across our border, we must stop that... For national health, for public health, for economy, this has to happen.”

Yet, there is still a push for even more deterrents.

“The American People are not heartless, and we understand that this is a difficult situation,” Kais added. “But we do believe that we must first take care of our country before we take care of others.”

According to Customs and Border Protection—Title 42 has been used to expel nearly two million migrants since March of 2020, most often at the Southern border.

But immigration advocates argue that has slowed the legal immigration process and denied people their rights to seek asylum — causing more buildup at the border.

“We have been busy, and it’s not because people have come in large numbers or overwhelmed the border,” said Dora Rodriguez, director of the migrant advocacy group Salvavision. “It’s because the people who have already been in there for a year or two is stuck in our borders, with no chance to practice their rights.”

In some cases, migrants can be exempt from Title 42. But many will continue to be turned away.

“Asking for asylum is in our constitution,” said Connie Phillips, director of Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest. “It is something that, as a country, we have decided you can do. You can come here and you can ask for asylum. And putting a bunch of barriers into that is not gonna stop people from coming to exercise that right and that opportunity.”

RELATED: Mayor Romero on Title 42 ending: "This isn’t our first rodeo"