Texas judge rules Biden administration can’t exempt migrant children from Trump-era order
A Texas judge on Friday ruled that the Biden administration cannot exempt unaccompanied migrant children from a Trump-era order, a decision that could lead U.S. Border Patrol to turn children away.
During the early part of the pandemic, former President Trump launched Title 42, a controversial public health policy that would allow the U.S. to immediately expel migrants who came to the border. The Biden administration has continued to operate under that order, but carved out an exception from unaccompanied migrant children.
However, Texas District Court Judge Mark Pittman, a Trump appointee, ruled against the Title 42 exemption, according to CBS News.
Pittman said that the Biden administration did not thoroughly justify the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention orders that codified the exclusion of unaccompanied minors from Title 42, calling them “arbitrary and capricious,” CBS reported.
Pittman also argued that Texas had been financially hit as a result of the exemptions due to education and medical costs for the migrant children now living in the state.
The ruling comes hours after a Washington, D.C., judge ruled against the Biden administration from using Title 42 to expel migrants back to countries where they may face persecution.
The decision on Friday marks the latest instance in which Texas has successfully blocked Biden administration immigration initiatives.
A judge in the state blocked a 100-day moratorium on deportations in February, and the Supreme Court sided with the state in August in a battle to reimplement what is formally known as the Migrant Protection Protocols, one of the most controversial Trump-era immigration programs.
The Biden administration has expelled hundreds of thousands of migrants under Title 42, which they have argued is necessary for public health purposes. However, the administration has been against using the policy to expel unaccompanied children, choosing instead to transfer them to shelters run by the Department of Health and Human Services.
It’s unknown whether the Biden administration will start expelling unaccompanied children at the border in light of Pittman’s ruling. Around 16,000 minors were expelled under the policy during the Trump administration before a judge blocked the policy in November 2020, according to CBS.