Today, following a public health reassessment, the CDC Director is terminating with respect to unaccompanied noncitizen children an Order under Title 42 suspending the right to introduce certain persons into the United States. In effect, this means that unaccompanied noncitizen children will not be expelled from the United States under CDC’s order.
CDC initially temporarily excepted unaccompanied noncitizen children from expulsion in January 2021, and later formally excepted such children from subsequent orders. On March 4, 2022, the District Court for the Northern District of Texas issued a preliminary injunction “enjoining and restraining” CDC from enforcing its orders to the extent that they except unaccompanied noncitizen children from the Title 42 procedures based solely on their status as unaccompanied children. The court found that CDC had not adequately explained its decision to treat unaccompanied noncitizen children differently than other noncitizens subject to the CDC orders. The court stayed its preliminary injunction for seven days.
In the current termination, CDC addresses the court’s concerns and has determined, after considering current public health conditions and recent developments, that expulsion of unaccompanied noncitizen children is not warranted to protect the public health. Because it is not warranted, and in recognition of the unique vulnerabilities of unaccompanied noncitizen children, CDC is immediately terminating the CDC Orders to the extent they apply to them. In making this determination, CDC considered multiple factors in its public health assessment.
With CDC’s assistance and guidance, the Office of Refugee Resettlement, the component of the Department of Health and Human Services that cares for unaccompanied noncitizen children, is able to care for unaccompanied noncitizen children while implementing appropriate COVID-19 mitigation measures through a robust network of care facilities that provide testing, vaccinations and medical care. DHS has also implemented additional COVID-19 mitigation procedures as to unaccompanied noncitizen children since the previous CDC orders were issued. These measures sufficiently mitigate the risk posed by unaccompanied noncitizen children prior to the children being discharged to vetted sponsors in U.S. communities. Moreover, children are not released from facilities to their parents or other sponsors until they have been medically cleared for release.