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COVID-19: CDC order authorizes Border Patrol expulsion of all persons arriving by land from Mexico or Canada without valid documents under title 42

  1. Date Announced

    March 20, 2020

    CDC issues a Notice of Order under the Public Health Service Act suspending for 30 days the introduction of persons from countries where a communicable disease exists, subject to certain exceptions, and authorizing immediate expulsion by Border Patrol. Order is applicable to persons traveling by land from Mexico or Canada (regardless of nationality), and applies to "covered aliens" who are those entering without valid travel documents, contrary to law, or seeking to enter unlawfully. Impact falls ons asylum-seekers and unaccompanied minors.

    See Biden administration action below.

    [ID #839]

    View Policy Document
  3. Subsequent Action

    May 19, 2020

    On May 19, 2020, CDC indefinitely extended the order, pending review every 30 days. "Upon determining that the further introduction of COVID-19 into the United States is no longer a serious danger to the public health necessitating the continuation of this Order, [the CDC Director] will publish a notice in the Federal Register terminating this Order and its Extensions."

    Amendment and Extension of Order Suspending Introduction Of Certain Persons From Countries Where A Communicable Disease Exists
  4. Subsequent Action

    June 24, 2020

    In June 2020, ACLU and CGRS filed suit in J.B.B.C. v. Wolf, winning a TRO blocking expulsion of a child under title 42. The case was subsequently voluntarily dismissed on August 6, 2020. See J.B.B.C. v. Wolf (D.D.C. 1:20-cv-01509).

    ACLU - Federal Court Again Blocks Removal of Honduran Youth in First Challenge to Trump Administration's Illegal Border Expulsion Order
  5. Subsequent Action

    October 16, 2020

    On October 16, 2020, the CDC issued notice of a new order replacing the Order Suspending Introduction of Certain Persons from Countries Where a Communicable Disease Exists issued on March 20, 2020, extended on April 20, 2020, and amended May 19, 2020. While the October order is substantially similar to original March order, it defines COVID-19 as a "quarantinable communicable disease," a designation not made in prior orders. The new order went into effect on October 13, 2020.

    Order Suspending the Right To Introduce Certain Persons From Countries Where a Quarantinable Communicable Disease Exists
  6. Subsequent Action

    January 29, 2021

    In August 2020, ACLU, Texas Civil Rights Project, and Oxfam filed a class action suit, P.J.E.S. v. Wolf (D.D.C. 1:20-cv-02245) challenging the expulsion of unaccompanied minors under Title 42 COVID restrictions. A magistrate judge on Sept. 25 recommended the grant of a preliminary injunction and class certification. On November 18, 2020, D.D.C. granted the PI. On January 29, 2021, a three-judge panel on the D.C. Circuit granted a stay of the preliminary injunction pending appeal.

    **Litigation is listed for informational purposes and is not comprehensive. For the current status of legal challenges, check other sources.**

    Complaint - P.J.E.S. v. Wolf
  7. Subsequent Action

    April 22, 2021

    On April 22, 2021, Texas sued the federal government, alleging that the Biden Administration had failed to abide by its legal requirement to expel incoming non-citizens under Title 42. In Texas' view, the federal government has an affirmative obligation under the INA & APA, as well under the public health laws, to systematically expel all arriving non-citizens, and the Biden administration has shirked its obligations by being excessively lenient in its implementation of this policy.

    The case is State of Texas v. Biden et al., 4:21-cv-00579 (N.D. Tex. April 22, 2021).

    **Litigation is listed for informational purposes and is not comprehensive. For the current status of legal challenges, check other sources.**

    State of Texas v. Biden et al. (Complaint)
  8. Subsequent Action

    July 16, 2021

    This Biden administration policy modifies the Trump-era policy identified in this entry.

    On July 16, 2021, the CDC issued an Order confirming the exception for unaccompanied noncitizen children from the October 13, 2020 policy in this entry. The Order was issued pursuant to EO 14010, which directed review of the October 2020 CDC Order under Title 42, and replaced the February 2021 Notice.

    Title 42 Order Reassessment and Exception for Unaccompanied Noncitizen Children
  9. Biden Administration Action

    February 17, 2021

    This Biden administration policy modifies the Trump-era policy identified in this entry.

    On February 17, 2021, the CDC issued a Notice announcing the temporary exception from the expulsion of unaccompanied noncitizen children under the October 13, 2020 policy in this entry. The temporary exception went into effect on January 30, 2021 and will remain in effect until the CDC has completed its public health assessment under EO 14010 requiring review of the CDC Order.

    CDC Notice of Temporary Exception From Expulsion of Unaccompanied Noncitizen Children Pending Forthcoming Public Health Determination
  10. Biden Administration Action

    May 18, 2021

    Amid litigation over the legality of the Title 42 expulsion program, DHS is planning certain changes to the administration of the program. ACLU, representing the plaintiff, indicated that DHS has agreed to exempt up to 250 asylum-seekers a day from expulsion and to streamline a system to identify and exempt particularly vulnerable individuals from the restrictions. The case is Huisha-Huisha v. Gaynor, 1:21-cv-00100 (D.D.C., Jan 12, 2021).

    CBS News: U.S. commits to admitting 250 asylum-seekers per day in concession to advocates


Washington Post: Under Trump border rules, U.S. has granted refuge to just two people since late March during coronavirus outbreak, records show

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Pence ordered borders closed after CDC experts refused

Discusses the VP's role in CDC's order.

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Buzzfeed News: Border Officials Turned Away Unaccompanied Immigrant Children More Than 13,000 Times Under Trump’s Pandemic Policy

On October 28, 2020, Buzzfeed News reported that DHS has expelled unaccompanied immigrant children from the U.S. border more than 13,000 times since March, according to an internal document obtained by BuzzFeed News.

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U.S. border officials expelled dozens of migrant children in violation of court order

CNN reports: CBP continues to expell unaccompanied minors in contravention to the Nov. 18th P.J.E.S. court order enjoining such action.

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Nationwide Enforcement Encounters: Title 8 Enforcement Actions and Title 42 Expulsions

CBP publishes monthly data on the number of expulsions and apprehensions at U.S. land borders

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