A federal judge on Thursday ordered the US government to suspend the immediate deportation of immigrant families under the guise of fighting COVID-19. Judge Emmett Sullivan said there are plenty of alternative measures to curb the spread of the virus.
“Given the wide availability of tests, vaccines and other health measures, the Court is not convinced that transmission of Covid-19 cannot be stopped during border procedures,” he wrote in his 50-page ruling.
At the outbreak of the pandemic, then-President Donald Trump decided to temporarily close the borders to immigrants. All persons who entered the country illegally were immediately deported. Trump’s successor, Joe Biden, has decided to stop deporting minors, but families and adults are still banned from entering the country.
Human rights organizations are satisfied with the judge’s ruling. “President Biden should have stopped this cruel and illegal policy long ago,” said Omar Gadout of the American Civil Liberties Union.
The government is likely to resume, especially as the country faces a large influx of migrants at its border with Mexico. More than 200,000 were arrested again at the border in August. This is the highest number in nearly 20 years.
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