The White House argues that it is due to a public health problem due to the coronavirus. Harsh response from human rights defenders.
The government of United States appealed a judge’s order prohibiting the expulsion of migrant minors who were detained after crossing the border alone, a policy enacted by the Donald Trump administration during the coronavirus pandemic to deny asylum protection to children.
On November 18, Judge Emmet Sullivan issued a preliminary injunction requested by migrant advocates prohibiting the removal of unaccompanied migrant minors based on public health laws.
The Department of Justice filed a notice of appeal Wednesday night with the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, asking Sullivan to order the suspension of your order pending appeal, a request that was previously denied.
Since March, border agents have expelled 200,000 adult and minor migrants citing as a reason the pandemic and the need to control the spread of the virus, although Covid-19 circulates both in border communities and in the rest of the country.
Sullivan’s order only affected children who crossed the border without a parent, not adults or families.
At least 8,800 unaccompanied minors have been expelled without the opportunity to apply for asylum or speak to a lawyer. Most were removed from the country in a matter of hours or days, although, for weeks, the Trump administration detained hundreds of them for days or weeks in hotels near the border with Mexico, until another judge prohibited the practice.
President-elect Democrat Joe Biden said that reverse several of Trump’s immigration programs when he takes office in January. Biden has not commented on the expulsions of migrants.
In its appeal Wednesday night, the Justice Department cited the spread of the coronavirus in the border communities of Arizona and Texas. He warned that Sullivan’s order “could have an irreversible impact on public health” by saturating hospital capacity and forcing the government to transfer “potentially infected” children and adolescents through airports.
The Associated Press reported on October 3 that senior officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention resisted issuing an emergency declaration allowing the expulsion of migrants because lacked public health foundationBut the vice president, Mike Pence, ordered the agency to go ahead.
Migrant advocates who requested the court order maintain that the government has the capacity to protect minors and border agents at the same time. They allege that the executive is using the pandemic as a pretext to persecute the migrants.
“There is no basis for allowing this cruel and unprecedented policy to take effect, given the harm these young people could face if deported and the avenues already available to safely house children,” said Lee Gelernt, attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in an email.