Washington — A federal appeals court on Friday declined to delay the cancellation of pandemic-era border restrictions that are set to end next week, dismissing a request by Republican state officials who had warned that the termination of the policy, known as Title 42, will fuel a greater increase in migrant arrivals along the U.S. southern border.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit refused to suspend a lower court ruling that will require the federal government to stop expelling migrants under the public health measure on Dec. 21.
Unless it is superseded by a Supreme Court order, the appeals court’s decision will pave the way for the termination of the Title 42 expulsion policy next week. The 19 Republican-led states seeking to delay the end of Title 42 previously said they would ask the Supreme Court to intervene if the Washington-based appeals court denied their request.
First invoked by the Trump administration in March 2020 at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Title 42 is a public health law dating back to the late 19th century that the federal government has argued allows border officials to quickly expel migrants from the U.S. on the grounds that they may spread a contagious disease.
Citing Title 42, U.S. border officials under Presidents Trump and Biden have expelled migrants 2.5 million times to Mexico or their home country, without allowing them to request humanitarian protection, a right that asylum-seekers have under U.S. and international refugee law, federal government figures show.
While it reversed other Trump-era border policies, the Biden administration continued the Title 42 expulsions and has relied on the measure to manage an unprecedented flow of hundreds of thousands of migrants who have arrived along the U.S.-Mexico border over the past year and a half.
The emergency request decided on Friday was made by Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.
This is a breaking news story that will be updated.
Camilo Montoya-Galvez is the immigration reporter at CBS News. Based in Washington, he covers immigration policy and politics.