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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Monday that it had renewed a policy allowing the expulsion of illegal immigrants due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19, as the number of unaccompanied children stopped at the US-Mexico border was expected to have reached an all-time high in July.
The policy, known as Title 42, would “remain in effect until the CDC Director determines that the danger of further introduction of COVID-19 into the United States from covered noncitizens has ceased to be a serious danger to public health,” the agency said in a statement.
In a separate statement, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said it would process illegal immigrants in accordance with the order, which exempts unaccompanied children and some families.
“Title 42 is not an immigration authority, but a public health authority, and its continued use is dictated by CDC and governed by the CDC’s analysis of public health factors,” DHS said. “Under Title 42, DHS continues to expel the majority of single adults, and, to the extent possible, families encountered at the Southwest Border.”
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other activist groups resumed a lawsuit against the Biden administration Monday over the use of Title 42, breaking off settlement talks.
“Seven months of waiting for the Biden administration to end Title 42 is more than enough,” ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt said.
“We are deeply disappointed that the Biden administration has abandoned its promise of fair and humane treatment for families seeking safety, leaving us no choice but to resume litigation,” added Neela Chakravartula, managing attorney for the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies.
In a court filing in the case, a top immigration official revealed Monday preliminary government figures indicated US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) picked up more than 19,000 unaccompanied children in July, exceeding the previous high of 18,877 in March. The estimated number would represent an increase of nearly 25 percent over the June total of 15,253.
David Shahoulian, DHS assistant secretary for border and immigration policy, added that about 80,000 people were encountered in family units, up more than 43 percent from the June number of 55,805.
Overall, authorities stopped illegal immigrants about 210,000 times at the border in July, up from 188,829 in June and the highest in more than 20 years.
Lawmakers from both parties have blamed the Biden administration’s immigration policies for creating a surge of illegal immigrants attempting to cross the border. In an effort to stem the tide, DHS announced last week it was resuming fast-track deportation flights for families to Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
“Attempting to cross into the United States between ports of entry, or circumventing inspection at ports of entry, is the wrong way to come to the United States,” DHS said in a statement. ”These acts are dangerous and can carry long-term immigration consequences for individuals who attempt to do so.”
With Post wires
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