Immigrant advocacy groups raised an alarm on Tuesday about the potential for Title 42, a Donald Trump-era policy that prohibits asylum seekers from crossing the U.S. border, to continue after May 23.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced last week that it would end Title 42 by May 23. Many immigrant advocates hailed this as a step in the right direction by the Joe Biden administration, which campaigned on a more humane approach to migrants along the southern U.S. border.
The Trump administration implemented Title 42 soon after the COVID-19 pandemic began. That administration claimed it was prohibiting individuals from crossing the southern border to prevent the spread of the respiratory disease but immigrant advocacy groups have called the policy racist and inflammatory.
This week three states, Missouri, Louisiana and Arizona, filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Louisiana to prevent the Biden administration from carrying out its plan of ending Title 42. The suit calls the end of the policy an “imminent, manmade, self-inflicted calamity,” and “unmitigated chaos and catastrophe.”
Immigrant advocacy groups fear a judge will allow an injunction on ending the policy, which the suit has requested. An injunction would prevent the Biden administration from moving forward with its plan of ending Title 42 by May 23.
Sophia Genovese, senior attorney at the New Mexico Immigrant Law Center, said through a news release that Title 42 was “never about public health.”
“It was anti-Black and xenophobic from the start,” she said through the release.
Immigrant advocates have been calling on the Biden administration for at least a year to end Title 42 and have said that given the U.S.’s ability to test for COVID-19 and vaccinate, there was no public health reason to keep the policy in place. Instead, the policy has become a way to control the border which, in turn, has created dangerous refugee camps on the other side of the border in Mexico, advocates have said.