Three Republican-led states have filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration in an attempt to prevent it from lifting a rule that allows illegal immigrants at the border to be expelled in the name of preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Former president Donald Trump instituted that policy, Title 42, but the Biden administration announced Friday it would end it. The lawsuit, filed by Louisiana, Missouri and Arizona, alleges that removing the order is "profoundly illegal." 

“The Title 42 Revocation thus stands as a radical outlier – seemingly the only COVID-19-based restriction the Administration sees fit to end,” the lawsuit reads. “But the CDC’s Termination Order is not merely unfathomably bad public policy. It is also profoundly illegal. That is principally so for two reasons: (1) Defendants unlawfully flouted the notice-and-comment requirements for rule-making under the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”) and (2) Defendants’ Termination Order is arbitrary and capricious, thus violating the APA, because it has numerous omissions that each independently render it illegal.”

The Biden administration has made several regulatory changes to loosen immigration enforcement.

Since President Joe Biden took office, illegal immigration has soared. U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported that federal agents encountered about 2 million illegal immigrants trying to enter the country last year. That does not include those migrants who slipped by undetected.

Republicans have pointed to that rise as another reason to strengthen, not weaken, border enforcement.

"President Biden’s open-border policies are an unmitigated disaster for national security,” Texas Governor Greg Abbott said in a statement. “His recklessness has forced the State of Texas to take unprecedented steps to fill the gaps – including deploying Texas Department of Public Safety troopers and over 10,000 Texas National Guard soldiers, jailing illegal immigrants who are charged with trespassing, and becoming the first state ever to build a wall to secure the border.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the change Friday, calling the rule "no longer necessary."

"After considering current public health conditions and an increased availability of tools to fight COVID-19 (such as highly effective vaccines and therapeutics), the CDC Director has determined that an Order suspending the right to introduce migrants into the United States is no longer necessary," the agency said in a statement. "With CDC’s assistance and guidance, DHS has and will implement additional COVID-19 mitigation procedures. These measures, along with the current public health landscape where 97.1% of the U.S. population lives in a county identified as having “low” COVID-19 Community Level, will sufficiently mitigate the COVID-19 risk for U.S. communities."

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