probability” of “persecution, torture, violent assaults, or rape.” See Pls.’ Mot., ECF No. 144-1 at 27; see also id. at 27- 28 (listing groups subject to expulsion under Title 42, including “survivors of domestic violence and their children, who have endured years of abuse”; “survivors of sexual assault and rape, who are at risk of being stalked, attacked, or murdered by their persecutors in Mexico or elsewhere”; and “LGBTQ+ individuals from countries where their gender identity or sexual orientation is criminalized or for whom expulsion to Mexico or elsewhere makes them prime targets for persecution” (citing AR, ECF No. 154 at 28-29, 47, 153) (cleaned up)). It is undisputed that the impact on migrants was indeed dire. See, e.g., Huisha-Huisha, 27 F.4th at 734 (finding Plaintiffs would suffer irreparable harm if expelled to places where they would be persecuted or tortured).
The CDC “has considerable flexibility in carrying out its responsibility,” Regents, 140 S. Ct. at 1914, and the Court is mindful that it “is not to substitute its judgment for that of the agency,” FCC v. Fox Television Stations, Inc., 556 U.S. 502, 513 (2009). But regardless of the CDC’s conclusion, its decision to ignore the harm that could be caused by issuing its Title 42 orders was arbitrary and capricious.
3. The Title 42 Policy Failed to Adequately
Plaintiffs also argue that the Title 42 policy is arbitrary and capricious because CDC failed to adequately consider alternatives and the policy did not rationally serve its stated purpose. See Pls.’ Mot., ECF No. 144-1 at 10-11.
- However, despite the above, Defendants have not shown that the risk of migrants spreading COVID-19 is “a real problem.” District of Columbia v. U.S. Dep’t of Agric., 444 F. Supp. 3d 1, 27 (D.D.C. 2020) (citing Nat’l Fuel Gas Supply Corp. v. FERC, 468 F.3d 831, 841 (D.C. Cir. 2006)). “Professing that an agency action ameliorates a real problem but then citing no evidence demonstrating that there is in fact a problem is not reasoned decisionmaking.” Id. (cleaned up); see Huisha-Huisha, 27 F.4th at 735 (“[W]e would be sensitive to declarations in the record by CDC officials testifying to the efficacy of the § 265 Order. But there are none.”). As Plaintiffs point out, record evidence indicates that “during the first seven months of the Title 42 policy, CBP encountered on average just one migrant per day who tested positive for COVID-19.” Pls.’ Mot., ECF No. 144-1 at 22 (citing Sealed AR, ECF No. 155-1 at 23). In addition, at the time of the August 2021 Order, the rate of daily COVID-19 cases in the United States was almost double the incidence rate in Mexico and substantially higher than the incidence rate in Canada. See 86 Fed. Reg. at 42831 (noting 137.9 daily cases per 100,000 people in the United States, compared to 68.6 in Mexico and 8.0 in Canada). The lack of evidence regarding the effectiveness of the Title 42 policy is especially egregious in view of CDC’s previous conclusion that “the use of quarantine and travel restrictions, in the absence of evidence of their utility, is detrimental to efforts to combat the spread of communicable disease,” Control of Communicable Diseases, 82 Fed.
Reg. 6890, 6896; as well as record evidence discussing the “recidivism” created by the Title 42 policy, which actually increased the number of times migrants were encountered by CBP, see AR, ECF No. 154 at 45 (commenter describing recidivism); AR, ECF No. 155-1 at 4 (January/February 2021 statistics showing nearly 40% of family units DHS encountered in January-February 15, 2021 were migrants who had attempted to cross at least once before).
- Particularly in view of the harms Plaintiffs face if summarily
expelled to countries they may be persecuted or tortured, the Court
therefore vacates the Title 42 policy. Cf. Nat. Res. Def. Council v. EPA, 489 F.3d 1250, 1262–64 (D.C. Cir. 2007) (Randolph, J., concurring) (“A remand-only disposition is, in effect, an indefinite stay of the effectiveness of the court’s decision and agencies naturally treat it as such.”).
- Meanwhile, Plaintiffs have presented evidence demonstrating that the rate of summary expulsions pursuant to the Title 42 policy has nearly doubled since September 2021. See Pls.’ Mot., ECF No. 144-1 at 30 (“At the time of this Court’s original decision, approximately 14% of
families encountered at the southwest border were being summarily expelled pursuant to the Title 42 policy. . . . Now, the rate of expulsions is nearly twice as high, reaching 27%.”); see also Pls.’ Reply, ECF No. 149-1 at 31 (“[I]n the month of July 2022 alone, 9,574 members of family units encountered at the southern border were summarily expelled pursuant to the Title 42 policy.”). And “[i]n Mexico alone, recorded incidents” of “kidnapping, rapes, and other violence against noncitizens subject to Title 42” have “spiked from 3,250 cases in June 2021 to over 10,318 in June 2022.” Pls.’ Mot., ECF No. 144-1 at 30 (citing Neusner Decl., ECF No. 118-4; Human Rights First, The Nightmare Continues: Title 42 Court Order Prolongs Human Rights Abuses, Extends Disorder at U.S. Borders, at 3-4 (June 2022)). Accordingly, even if the Court accepts Defendants’ unsupported statement that the “situation for class members has improved,” the evidence demonstrates that Plaintiffs continue to face irreparable harm that is beyond remediation. See Huisha-Huisha, 27 F.4th at 733 (“[T]he record is replete with stomach-churning evidence of death, torture, and rape.”).
- Because “there is an overriding public interest . . . in the general importance of an agency’s faithful adherence to its statutory mandate,” Jacksonville Port Auth. v. Adams, 556 F.2d 52, 59 (D.C. Cir. 1977); the Court concludes that an injunction in this case would serve the public interest, see A.B.-B. v. Morgan, No. 20-cv-846, 2020 WL 5107548, at *9 (D.D.C. Aug. 31, 2020) (“[T]he Government and public can have little interest in executing removal orders that are based on statutory violations . . . .”).
Moreover, Defendants do not contend that issuing a
permanent injunction would cause them harm or be inconsistent
with the public health. Indeed, “CDC recognizes that the current
public health conditions no longer require the continuation of
the August 2021 order,” Defs.’ Opp’n, ECF No. 147 at 44; see also Pls.’ Mot., ECF No. 144-1 at 30, in view of the “less burdensome measures that are now available,” 87 Fed Reg. at 19944; id. at 19949–50. The parties also do not dispute that Plaintiffs continue to face substantial harm if they are returned to their home countries, notwithstanding the availability of USCIS screenings. See, e.g., Human Rights First, The Nightmare Continues: Title 42 Court Order Prolongs Human Rights Abuses, Extends Disorder at U.S. Borders, at 3-4 (June 2022). As the Supreme Court has explained, the public has a strong interest in “preventing aliens from being wrongfully removed, particularly to countries where they are likely to face substantial harm.” Nken, 556 U.S. at 436.
So, when you hear guys like Abbott, Ducey, DeSantis, Manchin, Cuellar, Gonzales, GOP nativist AGs, and the like use this holiday season during which we are supposed to be celebrating messages of hope, faith, mercy, and “goodwill toward men” to extol the virtues of illegal expulsions under Title 42, remember what their are REALLY saying:
Title 42 expulsions of asylum seekers are a clear violation of Judeo-Christian ethics. To be advocating for its continuing application at any time, let alone during this season, is the height of hypocrisy; so is characterizing the largely self-inflicted mess at the Southern Border as a “humanitarian emergency” and then proposing to “solve” it by sending legal asylum seekers back to rape, torture, kidnapping, robbery, extortion, and death in Mexico and other nations in turmoil without any type of process to determine whether they have a “credible fear” of persecution, as required by law.
#Continuing #Violation #International #Laws #Protecting #Asylum #Seekers #Continuing #Gross #Abuses #Human #Rights #3The #record #replete #stomachchurning #evidence #death #torture #rape #immigrationcourtside.com