A federal lawsuit brought in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana now includes 21 states who are suing the Biden administration over the decision made to end the application of the Title 42 public health order. The order has allowed the rapid removal of illegal migrants as part of the effort to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
The case was first filed by Louisiana, Arizona, and Missouri. A new amended complaint filed in the matter last Thursday added 18 additional states as plaintiffs, those being Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said the decision to lift Title 42 was “reckless” and added that the administration’s immigration policies are a “disaster for our country and the safety of our citizens.”
The lawsuit alleges that the “abrupt elimination” of Title 42 removes the “only safety valve” that is preventing the Biden White House from unleashing “unmitigated chaos and catastrophe.” The complaint in the case argues that leading Democrats have even come out in opposition to the decision, with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) describing it as “frightening.”
The legal arguments in the complaint state that the administration has violated the federal Administrative Procedures Act (APA) because it failed to observe requirements for a notice and comment period before dropping Title 42.
The complaint also states that the administration claimed the rescission of Title 42 was “expressly premised” on the decrease in COVID-19 cases. However, the decision is arbitrary and capricious because the administration has not taken any other administrative actions consistent with that finding.
As examples, the complaint cites the continuing federal masking mandate for air travel as well as the various federal vaccine mandates. The suit describes ending Title 42 as a “radical outlier,” being the only COVID restriction Biden has decided to end.
The lawsuit names CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, Attorney General Merrick Garland, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra as additional defendants.
The lawsuit seeks an order preventing the government from terminating enforcement of Title 42. No response to the amended complaint has yet been filed, although it is expected the plaintiffs will seek temporary relief as soon as possible.