The pandemic restrictions, known as Title 42, were implemented in March 2020 under former Republican President Donald Trump. Health officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said at the time that slowing the spread of the coronavirus was necessary.
Since then, more than a million migrants detained at the border have been quickly expelled to Mexico or other countries under the order, often within hours of being apprehended.
AMLO: There are border measures to protect migrants from danger
Democrat President Joe Biden, who took office in January 2021, held Title 42 despite concerns from medical experts, key members of the United Nations and his own party, who said the evictions put vulnerable migrants at risk and not based on science were.
In April, the CDC said Title 42 was no longer necessary to combat COVID-19 due to the increased availability of vaccines and other tools. The health agency has given time till May 23 to the border officials to prepare for its end.
But a coalition of two dozen states led by Arizona, Louisiana and Missouri along with Republican attorney generals sued to block the federal government from ending the policy.
Trump-appointed Judge Somerhays said a nationwide injunction is necessary given the ability of border crossing immigrants to move freely from state to state.