A senior state adviser, Harold Koh, sent the memo with the administration’s decision to continue using a public health law, known as Title 42 and first used by the Trump administration because of the pandemic, limits. But to expel the obstructed migrants.
A State Department official confirmed the contents of Koh’s six-page memo.
According to a State Department official, Koh has been stepping down from his role since President Joe Biden took office, and had long planned to leave in October. The official said he plans to continue working as a contractor for the state.
“Title 42 is a public health authority, not immigration, and that authority rests with the CDC,” a senior State Department official told CNN, citing the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “CDC has determined that the removal of certain individuals under Title 42 is necessary because of the risk of transmission and spread of COVID-19 to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol stations, as well as the threat of emerging forms of necessary because of it.”
Koh’s memo followed a similar memo from another US diplomat last month, who resigned after she decimated Biden’s policy on Haitian immigrants. US special envoy to Haiti, Daniel Foote, said he did not want to engage with what he called an inhumane policy.
Koh noted in his memo that the Biden administration had recently extended temporary protected status for Haitian immigrants to the US due to the conditions in Haiti. He also said that the administration has more humane options to address the migration crisis at the border.
Koh closed his memo by saying that he knew many of his colleagues agreed with him and that he expected the administration to change its policy.
“It simply doesn’t deserve this administration that I support so strongly,” Koh said.
“The United States is committed to supporting safe, orderly, and humane migration throughout our region,” the senior State Department official said. “We continually engage with partners throughout the migrant corridor to emphasize each country’s responsibility for humane migration management, and the need for each country to enforce immigration laws and protect vulnerable populations.”
This story has been updated with comments from a senior State Department official.
CNN’s Nicole Gouet contributed to this report.