U.S. judge rules COVID border restrictions must continue

STORY: A U.S. federal judge on Friday blocked plans by the Biden administration to lift Title 42.

The policy, brought in at the start of the pandemic, empowers agents at the U.S.-Mexico border to turn back migrants without giving them a chance to seek asylum.

It had been due to expire on Monday and thousands of migrants are waiting anxiously at the border in anticipation.

This migrant from Honduras says people have been there for months, some more than a year.

Outside the American consulate in Tijuana, dozens gathered to protest on Friday.

They chanted "we want equality" and held up signs calling for an end to Title 42.

Some had brought along their covid test results and vaccination certificates.

Last month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Title 42 was no longer needed to fight covid.

Other health experts, including the UN, have said expulsions put vulnerable migrants in danger and were not based on science.

Paulina Olvera is the Director of Migrant Space - an organization that supports asylum seekers.

“There was a lot of expectation because the Biden administration had promised to eliminate Title 42 on May 23 but that was stopped in federal court and it’s most likely Title 42 will not be eliminated this Monday; however, the city is at full capacity right now. The shelters are overcrowded and there are many people who have been waiting for a long time, a large Haitian population, families and many pregnant women."

Friday's ruling, by Louisiana Judge Robert Summerhays, has been widely condemned by rights groups.

But he says it serves the public interest.

The Department of Justice plans to appeal.