FILE – Migrants rest in a dormitory of the Good Samaritan shelter in Juarez, Mexico, March 29, 2022. The vast majority of people staying at the shelter are women and their children from Mexico and Central America who have been expelled under Title 42 authority or were still waiting to try for asylum, according to Pastor Juan Fierro, the shelter’s director. (AP Photo/Christian Chavez, File)
(AP Photo/Christian Chavez, File)
PHOENIX — Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich on Thursday filed a request for a temporary restraining order that accuses the Biden administration of prematurely ending enforcement of the Title 42 border policy.
Brnovich cited a Fox News report that says Border Patrol in some cases has stopped removing migrants from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador under the policy, which was enacted during the Trump era as a public health measure in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The administration has announced plans to end the policy on May 23.
Earlier this month, Brnovich and the attorneys general from Louisiana and Missouri filed a lawsuit after the administration announced the plan, arguing the move is “profoundly illegal” and will create more strain on border communities.
The new restraining order request, in conjunction with 20 other states, asks the Department of Homeland Security to show that it has been enforcing Title 42 as required by law.
“Once again, the Biden administration is thumbing its nose at the American people and the rule of law,” Brnovich said in a press release. “It cannot be allowed to continue in this recklessness.”
U.S. authorities have expelled migrants more than 1.7 million times under Title 42 authority, named for a 1944 public health law, using the threat of COVID-19 to deny migrants a chance to seek asylum as required under U.S. law and international treaty.
Several moderate Democrats have joined Republican leaders to call for an extension of Title 42 authority.
Sen. Mark Kelly, an Arizona Democrat up for election this year, toured the border last week and warned that the Biden administration is unprepared for asylum restrictions to be lifted.
The number of illegal crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border, or those outside official ports of entry, totaled 209,906 in March, surpassing the previous high of Biden’s presidency of 200,658 set in July, and the highest level since March 2000, when it reached 220,063.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.