Court Blocks Trump’s Illegal Border Expulsions of Children

District Court Blocks Administration’s Illegal Border Expulsions

Washington, D.C. (November 18, 2020) – A district court today issued an order blocking application of the Trump administration’s “Title 42” order to all unaccompanied children, nationwide, in a class-action lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, Texas Civil Rights Project, Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, and Oxfam. The challenged order restricts immigration at the border based on an unprecedented and unlawful invocation of the Public Health Service Act, located in Title 42 of the U.S. Code. 

The order has already resulted in the summary expulsion of at least 13,000 unaccompanied children without any due process — even if the child was fleeing danger and seeking protection in the United States and showed no signs of having COVID-19.  

ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt, the lead attorney in the case, said:

“Today’s ruling is a critical step in halting the Trump administration’s unprecedented and illegal attempt to expel children under the thin guise of public health. The administration’s order has already allowed for the rapid expulsion of more than 13,000 children in need of protection, who were legally entitled to apply for asylum.”

The lawsuit argued that the administration is not authorized to issue the expulsion order under public health provisions in Title 42 of the U.S. Code — provisions that have rarely been used and never in this way. Title 42 does not permit expulsions of non-citizens who are in the United States, nor does it legally allow the removal of children.

CGRS Director of Litigation, Jamie Crook, said:

“We are thrilled that the court has enjoined this cruel policy, which has placed thousands of vulnerable refugee children in harm’s way. Today’s ruling affirms that the Trump administration cannot use the pandemic as a pretext to flout its legal obligations to children fleeing persecution.”

Noah Gottschalk, Global Policy Lead, Oxfam America, said:

“This is an enormous win, first and foremost for the thousands of children and their families who will now have the opportunity to find safe haven, but also for who we are as a nation. Over the last four years, the Trump administration has shamefully turned its back on our country’s long legacy as a refuge for people fleeing persecution. Today, we’re taking a critical step to begin repairing the damage done by these harmful attacks against our common humanity, and the next step is to rescind the order completely.”

Karla Marisol Vargas, senior attorney with the Texas Civil Rights Project, said:

“It has taken months and a suit against the government to confirm what we already knew: the Trump administration cannot weaponize a pandemic to destroy long established protections for children with a shadow system of zero-accountability. We will continue to keep this administration and the next, in check.” 

The case also cited violations of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, the Administrative Procedure Act, the Immigration and Nationality Act, and the Convention Against Torture. 

The lawsuit, P.J.E.S. v. Wolf, was filed in district court in Washington, D.C. The ACLU of Texas and ACLU of D.C. are co-counsel. 


The Stories are Heartbreaking: African HRC fulfills a unique and crucial role for persecuted displaced LGBTQI people from over 30 African Countries.

safe shelter, food and medicine, in the harshest and most difficult of conditions. We provide advocacy, working directly with UNHCR, governments, and civil societies towards resettlement of individuals, protection and the opening of crucial refugee pipelines. Our work as expert witness for country conditions reporting in asylum courts is critical. We are asking for your kind support to keep this work going and to help us increase our capacity, as more and more people are reaching out desperate for help. Please consider African HRC in your year’s end giving.

African Human Rights Coalition Thanks you for your support:


By Melanie Nathan
African Human Rights Coalition
Executive Director
Blog: Oblogdee.Blog
pronouns: she / her / hers

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