WASHINGTON — A coalition of conservative-leaning states including Nebraska is making a last-ditch effort to keep in place a Trump-era public health rule that allows many asylum seekers to be turned away at the southern U.S. border.
Late Monday, the 15 states filed what's known as a motion to intervene — meaning they want to become part of the legal proceedings surrounding the public health rule referred to as Title 42.
first invoked by Trump in 2020, uses emergency public health authority to allow the United States to keep migrants from seeking asylum at the border, based on the need to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
It's set to end Dec. 21, potentially upending border enforcement. Republicans are about to take control of the House from the Democrats following midterm elections and are planning to make immigration a central part of their agenda.
The states argued that they will suffer “irreparable harm from the impending Termination of Title 42” and that they should be allowed to argue their position well before the Dec. 21 termination date.
In a statement, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, which has been arguing to end the use of Title 42, called into question the states' motivation for trying to keep the public health rule in force.
“Title 42 is not about asylum general border enforcement but public health, and these states cannot plausibly claim their real interest is about public health," said Lee Gelernt.
Immigrant rights' groups have argued that the use of Title 42 unjustly harms people fleeing persecution and that the pandemic was a pretext used by the Trump administration to curb immigration. A judge on Nov. 15 ruled for the immigrants rights' groups, calling the ban “arbitrary and capricious."
U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan
ruled in Washington that enforcement must end immediately for families and single adults. The administration has not used Title 42 with regard to children traveling alone. The judge later granted a request by President Joe Biden's administration to set a Dec. 21 deadline for his order to go into effect, giving the administration five weeks to prepare for the change.
The 15 states argued that states such as Arizona and Texas that border Mexico as well as other states away from the border will face more immigration if use of Title 42 ends. The legal filings lay out a timeline to argue the matter further.
If Sullivan’s ruling stands, it could have a dramatic impact on border enforcement. Migrants have been expelled from the United States more than 2.4 million times since the rule took effect in March 2020.
The ban has been unevenly enforced by nationality, falling largely on migrants from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador — in addition to Mexicans — because Mexico allows them to be returned from the United States. Last month, Mexico began accepting Venezuelans who are expelled from the United States under Title 42, causing a sharp drop in Venezuelans seeking asylum at the U.S. border.
The 15 states that filed the motion to intervene are Arizona, Alabama, Alaska, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
Deuli Gonzalez and his family are celebrating a milestone: a lease to their first apartment in the U.S. The family crossed the US-Mexico border last month after fleeing life in Venezuela. Border officials gave them a Colorado address. They were told they could find housing there but what they found instead was an office building, not a shelter.
Top Journal Star photos for November
Third grade students work on grammar packets during class time on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022, at Meadow Lane Elementary in Lincoln. Meadow Lane was one of the schools which lost students to new buildings.
Malcolm's Abby Zegar (left) and Lauryn England react after a block against Gothenburg during a Class C-1 first-round state volleyball tournament match Wednesday at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Gothenburg's Emily Cornwell (left) celebrates a point scored against Malcolm during a Class C-1 first-round state volleyball tournament match Wednesday at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Millard West's Evan Glade (10) celebrates with her team after a kill during a Class A first-round state volleyball tournament match Wednesday at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Captured by an in-camera long exposure image, Papillion-La Vista takes on Lincoln East
during a Class A first-round state volleyball tournament match Wednesday at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Lincoln East's Shandy Faalii (8) and Sophia Weed (13) try to block a hit by Papillion-LaVista's Mia Tvrdy
during a Class A first-round state volleyball tournament match Wednesday at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Nebraska's Whitney Lauenstein scores on a block against Indiana on Wednesday at the Devaney Sports Center.
Papillion-La Vista's Mia Tvrdy (center), hugs Reagan Hickey (3) as they celebrate their win over Lincoln East during a Class A first-round state volleyball tournament match Wednesday at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Jolyl roll and other rolls are seen at Masa Sushi.
Hartington CC players leap off the bench after defeating Cambridge
during a Class D-1 first-round state volleyball tournament match Thursday at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
S-E-M's Taryn Arbuthnot reacts after making a block against BDS during a Class D-1 first-round state volleyball tournament match Thursday at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
BDS' Campbell Bohling (left) and Hayley Silva dive for the ball during a Class D-1 first-round state volleyball tournament match against S-E-M on Thursday at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Bayard's Danika Hassel dives for the ball in the third set during a Class C2 first round state volleyball match on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022, at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Lincoln Lutheran's Abby Wachal (24) celebrates after a kill against Oakland-Craig during a Class C-2 state volleyball tournament semifinal match Friday at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Elkhorn North's Kailey Hrbek (left) and Shay Heaney try to save the ball from hitting the ground in the first set against Bennington during a Class B semifinal state volleyball match on Friday, Nov. 4, 2022, at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
The Elkhorn North bench, Anna Martin (13), Peyton Meyer(11) and Finley Gragert (14) react after the 24th point in the third set during a Class B semifinal state volleyball match on Friday, Nov. 4, 2022, at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Boone Central's Alex Christo celebrates his touchdown against Ashland-Greenwood in the second quarter, Friday, Nov. 4, 2022, in Ashland.
Lincoln Southwest players react as Omaha Westside players rush the floor following their three-set sweep of the Silver Hawks, during a Class A semifinal state volleyball match on Friday at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Omaha Skutt players celebrate with a dogpile on the floor, after a four-set win over Norris during a Class B semifinal state volleyball match on Friday at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln students Trevor Darnell (left) and Jake Saelens watch Nebraska plays Indiana from the standing-room only area at Devaney Sports Center in Lincoln, Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022.
Lancaster County Election Commissioner Dave Shively poses for a portrait at his office on Friday.
Howells-Dodge celebrates with a dogpile after defeating Overton to win the class D-2 state volleyball championships on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, at the Devaney Sports Center.
Nebraska's Caleb Tannor (2) celebrates his sack against Minnesota as teammate Garrett Nelson runs behind him on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
Hartington CC celebrates after defeating Norfolk Catholic in the Class D-1 state championship Saturday at the Devaney Sports Center.
Lincoln Lutheran celebrates after defeating Archbishop Bergan in the Class C-2 state championship Saturday at the Devaney Sports Center.
Lincoln Lutheran's Keri Leimbach (bottom left) is surrounded by teammates after the Warriors won the second set of the Class C-2 state championship against Archbishop Bergan on Saturday at the Devaney Sports Center.
GICC's Avery Kelly (center) celebrates after her team scores against Gothenburg in the Class C-1 state championship Saturday at the Devaney Sports Center.
GICC celebrates winning the C-1 state championship after defeating Gothenburg on Saturday at the Devaney Sports Center.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln student Morgan Rief of Lincoln tries to stay warm as she sits in the stands with her family before the Minnesota game, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln.
Nebraska's Alexis Markowski (left) celebrates a three-pointer by Kendall Coley at the end of the first quarter against Omaha on Monday at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Nebraska's Juwan Gary (4) competes for a rebound with Maine's Milos Nenadic (left) and Peter Filipovity on Monday at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Voters cast their ballots at the First Christian Church on Tuesday in Lincoln.
Juju Tyner, director of Queer Choir LNK (left), embraces Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks, the Democratic nominee in the race to represent Nebraska's 1st Congressional District on Tuesday at Lincoln Station in Lincoln.
Republican Jim Pillen speaks at his election night party in Lincoln after winning the governor's race in Nebraska on Tuesday.
Supporters of gubernatorial candidate Jim Pillen wait for him to take the stage on Tuesday at Marriott Cornhusker Hotel in Lincoln.
Jill Davis (from left), Bill Stephan and Leslie Wright pose for a photo in front of Lied Center, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022, in Lincoln.
Cornhusker Boy Scouts in WW I uniforms from left, Leighton Dames, 10, Mikaela Roger, 17, Gabriel Roger, Josephina Roger, 11, line up to perform color guard duties during a Veterans Day celebration Nov. 11 at Nebraska State Capitol.
The crowd celebrates Nebraska's 300th sellout with a card stunt during a break before the third set against Iowa on Friday at the Devaney Sports Center.
While being held by his grandmother, Sarah Thomsen (left), 2-year-old Brandon Thomsen accepts a teddy bear from Judge Reggie Ryder during an adoption hearing on National Adoption Day on Saturday at the County-City Building.
A lake in Waterford Estates, a development in northeast Lincoln, is a flood mitigation effort that removed adjacent land from the Stevens Creek floodplain, which now includes the housing development. The city is proposing changes to its floodplain regulations, and a broad-based group is advocating the city first investigate such structural solutions. The city says it is doing so, but new rainfall data means it must update the regulations now.
Shaneeka Fondal said Lincoln was the safe community she hoped for when she relocated her family from New Orleans. Catholic Social Services nominated the family to receive help from Journal Star readers in its annual Thanks for Giving program. Front row from left: Adoree Ross, 7; Myracle Ross, 9; Darryl Ross Jr., 12; Darryl Ross III, 10; back row from left, Kameron Ross, 8; Elijah Ross, 4; Darryl Ross Sr.; Shaneeka Fondal, Shamara Fondal, 16; Dakota Ross, 5.
Nebraska's Jaz Shelley has her shot blocked by Creighton's Carly Bachelor in the first half Tuesday at Sokol Arena in Omaha.
Dorothy Applebee, who is 92 years old, uses a leaf blower to clean up leaves in her yard with the help of her son, Bob Unger (not pictured), on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022, at in Lincoln. As the signs of winter began to slowly show itself. As cold winds are expected to continue throughout the week, accompanied by partly cloudy weather.
Omaha Westside's Jahmez Ross and Keynan Cottondives for a fumble alongside Gretna's Alexander Runge in the third quarter during the class A championship game on Monday, Nov. 21, 2022, at Memorial Stadium.
Matt Rhule is introduced as the new head football coach at Nebraska during a news conference Monday at Hawks Championship Center. Nebraska signed Rhule to an eight-year contract.
The Color Guard presents the U.S. and Nebraska Flag during Lincoln Veterans Parade on Sunday.
Wisconsin's Chimere Dike goes up to catch a ball against Nebraska's Myles Farmer on Saturday at Memorial Stadium. It was later ruled an incomplete pass.
Gov.-elect Jim Pillen poses for a portrait, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022, at Nebraska State Capitol in Lincoln.
Norfolk Catholic head coach Jeff Bellar is drenched by a bucket of water by players Karter Kerkman (right) and Ty Geiger (not visable) after winning the Class C-2 championship game Tuesday at Memorial Stadium.
Lied Place is the tallest Lincoln building outside of the state Capitol.
Bennington's Owen Douglas (top) and Gunnar Lymduring collide while going for an interception against Omaha Gross
during the Class B state championship game Tuesday at Memorial Stadium.
A Navy Blue Angel F/A-18 Hornet is moved into a hanger for a news conference Monday.
Nebraska's Myles Farmer celebrates after denying Wisconsin a field goal attempt in the second quarter, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in Lincoln.
Parkview Christian head coach PJ Book (center) embraces high school seniors Chandler Page (left) and Anthony Page after the Patriots defeated Pawnee City in the Class D-6 state championship Nov. 18 at Foster Field in Kearney.
Pierce's Nik Harvey (left) defends against Aurora's Carlos Collazo during the Class C-1 state championship game Tuesday at Memorial Stadium.
Nebraska's Garrett Nelson (not pictured) hands off the Heroes Trophy to fans after defeating Iowa on Friday at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa.
Junior Anna Metzger (left) and sophomore Sammie Frank show off their dance moves at a rehearsal of Lincoln North Star's winter musical "Jingle Arrgh the Way!" on Tuesday at North Star.
Clarkson/Leigh's Drew Beeson (left) embraces his father Robert Beeson in the closing seconds of the Patriots' win against Neligh-Oakdale in the Class D-1 championship Monday at Memorial Stadium.
Nebraska's Garrett Nelson (44) holds the Heroes Game Trophy above his head in celebration of the Huskers' 24-17 win against Iowa on Friday at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa.
Nebraska interim head coach Mickey Joseph shouts encouragements to his players before the Wisconsin game on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
Krystal Peters moves out from her room at St. Monica's in this photo taken through the reflection of a mirror, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022, in Lincoln.
Nebraska's Ernest Hausmann breaks up a pass intended for Wisconsin's Jack Eschenbach on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
Nebraska's Madi Kubik walks out for Senior Day with her family, including father Brad Kubik and mother Renae Kubik, on Saturday at the Devaney Sports Center.
Hitchcock County's Drew Scott (4, center) lifts the trophy with his teammates after the Falcons defeated Howells-Dodge in the Class D-2 championship Monday at Memorial Stadium.
Nebraska's Kaitlyn Hord (right) walks off the court with teammate Lexi Rodriguez during Senior Day on Saturday at the Devaney Sports Center.
Nebraska head football coach Matt Rhule is surrounded by media after his introductory news conference Monday at Hawks Championship Center.
Nebraska head coach Matt Rhule throws a football to the gathering crowd, Monday, Nov. 28, 2022, in Lincoln.
Matt Rhule, who was announced as Nebraska football's new head coach, walks into an introductory press conference on Monday, Nov. 28, 2022, at the Hawks Championship Center. Rhule was introduced as the University's 31st permanent head coach, The 47-year-old, has experience coaching at both the collegiate level and the professional level. Working as a head coach for the past 10 years, seven in college programs and three season for the Carolina Panthers. Nebraska signed Rhule to an eight-year contract