The American Civil Liberties Union, Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, and Oxfam filed the nation’s first legal challenge to the Trump administration’s order restricting 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 authorizes the summary removal of unaccompanied children without any due process — even if the child is fleeing danger and seeking protection in the United States and shows no signs of having COVID-19. It also authorizes the summary removal of adults seeking protection in the United States.

The lawsuit argues 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.

The case was filed in federal court in Washington, D.C.

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