The Biden administration says it will appeal a federal court decision last month that blocked a Trump-era policy allowing for the quick removal of asylum seekers at the border.
The Homeland Security Department said it would file an appeal with the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, challenging US District Judge Emmet Sullivan’s November ruling that ordered President Biden to lift the asylum restrictions.
The enforcement rule first took effect in March 2020, allowing the federal government to rapidly expel migrants seeking asylum to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
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The restrictions were implemented under former President Donald Trump at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The practice was authorized under Title 42 of a broader 1944 law covering public health, and has been used to expel migrants more than 2.4 million times.
The Biden administration says the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is working on a new regulation to formalize the border restrictions.
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Sullivan, who was appointed to the court by President Bill Clinton, has called the expulsion of migrants under the rule “arbitrary and capricious.” The administration’s appeal could scuttle a Dec. 21 deadline set by Sullivan for his order from him to take effect.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.