In State of Arizona, et al. v. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, et al. (Arizona v. CDC), a federal district court judge has issued a Temporary Restraining Order blocking the Biden administration’s April 1, 2022, Title 42 Termination Order from taking effect nationwide – though only two of the 22 plaintiff states, Arizona and Texas, even share a land border with Mexico.  In the last decade, district court judges have increasingly granted requests from single states resulting in changes to immigration policy for the entire country when the alleged harm does not extend beyond the state’s boundaries. It’s time to put an end to this practice, and it’s time to put an end to Title 42.

On May 9, 2022, we joined a mother and her partner and young daughter who sought asylum but were turned away due to Title 42 in filing a motion to intervene in Arizona v. CDCOur proposed intervenors’ motion to intervene argues that any court order requiring the continuation of the policy should only apply to the states that are plaintiffs, which would allow Biden’s order to terminate Title 42 to proceed in California and New Mexico. 

Title 42, designed by white supremacist Stephen Miller, has led to countless cases of assault, kidnapping, rape and even murder of vulnerable migrants and denied their right to seek asylum in the United States under the pretext of COVID-19, despite overwhelming evidence that Title 42 does nothing to protect public health. This brutal policy’s implementation along California’s and New Mexico’s border with Mexico has also deeply impacted Innovation Law Lab’s ability to pursue its mission to  increase access to legal representation and legal resources for asylum-seeking individuals, the majority of whom arrive in the United States at the southern border.

In addition to Innovation Law Lab, a Central American mother seeking asylum who is stranded with her partner and their young daughter in Tijuana, Mexico, is also a named plaintiff in the motion to intervene. Alicia Duran Raymundo faced terrible threats in El Salvador before fleeing to the US with her family, but they were turned away by US border agents due to Title 42. They have family members with legal immigration status waiting to receive them in California. 

As our Deputy Legal Director, Tess Hellgren, said:

“We cannot allow state governments to dictate national immigration policy and eviscerate asylum by judicial fiat.”

Alongside Alicia, we are represented by lawyers from the Center for Immigration Law and Policy at the UCLA School of Law (UCLA CILP) and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIP NLG).

UPDATES

May 20, 2022

District Judge Robert Summerhays granted the plaintiff states’ motion for preliminary injunction and issued a preliminary injunction of the CDC’s Title 42 termination order “anywhere within the United States”, thereby preventing Title 42 from lifting nationwide. As a result, vulnerable families and individuals fleeing grave danger will continue to be denied access to the US asylum system. Every day this horrendous policy continues is another day that migrants will be robbed, attacked, blackmailed, kidnapped, sexually assaulted and in some cases killed.

Judge Summerhays also denied our motion to intervene in the case, thus silencing the voices of the only directly impacted parties in this case: people seeking asylum and those who serve them. We deserve our day in court!

May 26, 2022

Innovation Law Lab filed a motion for an expedited stay of the nationwide scope of the preliminary injunction. Represented by lawyers from UCLA CILP and NIP NLG, they filed the motion with the district court for the western district of Louisiana.