As Nevadans urge Biden to stay the course, a judge temporarily stops him from ending Title 42

By: - April 25, 2022 4:35 pm

"We strongly support the Administration's plan to revoke Title 42 and urge you to continue to stand in solidarity with refugees and asylum seekers,” reads a letter sent to Gov. Steve Sisolak, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and the rest of the Nevada congressional delegation last week by the Nevada Immigration Coalition. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Following growing calls from within the Democratic Party urging the White House to reconsider its decision to roll back a Trump-era immigration policy that prevented asylum-seekers from entering the U.S, advocates in Nevada are pushing back.

The Biden administration had said it would end the emergency order, known as Title 42, next month which allows immigration authorities to expel those seeking asylum without due process.

On Monday, a federal judge told Republican state attorneys general and the federal government that he planned to grant the Republican officials’ request for a temporary restraining order. If the order holds up, it would stop Biden from ending the policy first put in place during the Trump administration.

Meanwhile, Nevadans have been urging Biden and the state’s Democrats in Congress not to backtrack on promises to end Title 42.

“We strongly support the Administration’s plan to revoke Title 42 and urge you to continue to stand in solidarity with refugees and asylum seekers,” reads a letter sent to Gov. Steve Sisolak, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and the rest of the Nevada congressional delegation last week by the Nevada Immigration Coalition.

The letter was signed by several Nevada lawmakers, unions, advocacy and business groups.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued Title 42 in March 2020 in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Earlier this month, they announced they would lift restrictions on May 23, saying it is no longer needed because of improving pandemic conditions.

However, several Nevada Democrats have fought against ending the Title 42 policy including Sisolak and Cortez Masto who slammed the Biden administration for rolling back Title 42, without first putting a detailed plan in place to handle the expected increase in migration once America’s asylum system is reopened. 

Sisolak sent a letter to Biden warning that rolling back Title 42 without a detailed plan would “create chaos” and spark a humanitarian crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border. Cortez Masto said reversing the rule would result in “a surge at the border,” mirroring Republican talking points.

The Nevada Immigrant Coalition urged the White House to stay the course and repeal Title 42, calling the policy “cruel and inhumane.”

“The efforts to politicize access to asylum under the guise of public health needs to be stopped and not entertained as a way to mitigate migration to the United States,” wrote the coalition in a letter. 

In the letter, advocates also urged the Biden administration and Democrats in Congress to block any amendments or bills that would block the policy’s repeal. 

“The Nevada Immigrant Coalition strongly urges our Nevada Congressional Delegation to vote NO on any amendments to the COVID-19 relief bill, or stand alone bills, that will tie the hands of the Biden Administration and block access to asylum at the border by keeping Title 42 in place,” said the letter.

Nevada Assemblywoman Selena Torres, Las Vegas councilwoman Olivia Diaz, Nevada State Senator Fabian Doñate, and City of West Wendover Mayor Daniel Corona signed onto the letter.

Other Nevada-based signatories included the Asian Community Development Council, Children’s Advocacy Alliance, Culinary Workers Union Local 226, SEIU Local 1107, and Nevada State Education Association.

Nevada immigration advocates join a push by national groups sounding the alarm about the White House and some Democrats weakening on prior commitments to end Title 42. 

“Continuing to block asylum applications by keeping Title 42 in place would contradict our core values as Americans, and would send a terrible message to the rest of the world who see our country as a beacon of freedom,” said SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry, during a press call Friday. “It would greatly demoralize working people who worked so hard to elect President Biden and other Democrats on the promise of change– especially after millions of immigrants risked their lives as essential workers during the pandemic.”

U.S. District Judge Robert R. Summerhays granted the temporary restraining order Monday during a virtual status conference. A summary of that meeting said the states and federal agencies would “attempt to reach agreement” on the specific terms of the order.

States Newsroom Washington bureau senior reporter Jacob Fischler contributed to this story.

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Jeniffer Solis
Jeniffer Solis

Reporter | Jeniffer was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada where she attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas before graduating in 2017 with a B.A in Journalism and Media Studies. While at UNLV she was a senior staff writer for the student newspaper, the UNLV Scarlet and Gray Free Press, and a news reporter for KUNV 91.5 FM, covering everything from the Route 91 shooting to UNLV housing. She has also contributed to the UNLV News Center and worked as a production engineer for several KUNV broadcasts before joining the Nevada Current. She’s an Aries.