Trump-appointed federal judge stops Biden from lifting Title 42, another immigration setback for the administration.
Trump-appointed federal judge stops Biden from lifting Title 42, another immigration setback for the administration. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

Trump-appointed federal judge stops Biden from lifting Title 42, another immigration setback for the administration

In his ruling, Texas U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk halted proceedings until litigation between Texas and Missouri were satisfied.


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With the Trump-era immigration policy — Title 42 — better known as the ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy, coming to an end on Dec. 21, southern U.S. states that border Mexico, specifically Arizona and Texas, are bracing for what could be a surge of migrants making their way into the country with numbers already high for the year.  

The policy was first implemented back in the early throes of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 by the Trump Administration. When President Joe Biden first took office, his administration knew it would be an issue they would soon have to revisit. 

Over the course of his presidency, Biden has extended the policy, but Title 42 has faced some legal challenges as Biden was looking to lift the policy nearing its expiration date. However, news broke yesterday that a Trump-appointed federal judge in Texas blocked the rescission of the policy over pending litigation in Texas and Missouri. 

On Thursday, Dec. 15, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk temporarily blocked the Biden administration from lifting the aforementioned Title 42 policy that requires asylum-seekers and migrants crossing over to wait in Mexico to hear their cases in U.S. immigration court. 

Texas Governor Greg Abbott was happy to hear about the ruling, considering he has been responsible for the transportation of tens of thousands of migrants to Democratic sanctuary cities over the past year. 

“It’s a common sense policy to prevent people from entering our country illegally,” Abbott tweeted after the ruling. “Texas wins again, for now.”

Judge Kacsmaryk said in his ruling that the block would stay until legal challenges by Texas and Missouri were satisfied, but did not order the policy reinstated. The Biden Administration could appeal the ruling, but nothing has been announced. 

The future of the program hangs in limbo and leaves a huge question mark on an important issue. It also means a judge has once again halted movement from the Biden administration on immigration. As a country, immigration reform is something it has failed to do in the past few decades.

This latest ruling — and setback — comes as border cities, specifically El Paso, Texas, have encountered a huge daily number of migrants that officials fear will exponentially grow if separate asylum restrictions implemented under former President Donald Trump end next week as they are planned to. 

The Department of Homeland Security released a statement following news of the ruling in disagreement and added that the U.S. government was within its power to lift the policy. 

Title 42 during the Trump Presidency resulted in over 70,000 asylum-seekers having to wait in Mexico for U.S. hearings. It was first proposed in January 2019 and implemented in March 2020. 

Suspending the policy was one of the first executive acts performed by President Joe Biden who did so on his first day in office and said it “goes against everything we stand for as a nation of immigrants.” That only set off what has been now almost three years of a long legal battle for the administration. 

Kacsmaryk is not new to this long standing issue as he first ordered that the policy be reinstated back in 2021. The Biden administration played along after agreeing to some key changes and other requests demanded by Mexico. As a result, the policy was not enforced widely, as only a few thousand people were sent back to wait in Mexico as opposed to over tens of thousands. 

In Kacsmaryk’s 35-page ruling, he said that it was likely an October 2021 memo from the Biden administration that was in part their latest effort to terminate the policy appeared to violate the law in his eyes. 

He added that the administration did not contemplate or acknowledge the benefits of the policy which included reducing illegal immigration and “unmeritorious asylum claims,” the ruling said.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton also celebrated the “win” on Twitter. 

“I sued Biden nearly 2 yrs. ago to keep Remain-in-Mexico. The Admin played games all the way to SCOTUS, but tonight Texas & USA WINS. I just secured an order from a federal court ordering Biden not to scrap the program. Biden’s open-border agenda won’t survive my legal attacks,” he said.


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