Supreme Court leaves Title 42 border policy in place for now


Supreme Court on Tuesday blocked the Biden administration’s plans to end a pandemic-era policy allowing the rapid deportation of migrants from US borders without the ability to seek asylum.

The A Trump-era policy known as Title 42was set to expire last week, but Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. put that plan on hold to give the Supreme Court time to consider the issue.

In Tuesday’s order, five conservative justices sided with Republican officials in 19 states, including Texas and Arizona, who sought to preserve Title 42, which has been used to deport migrants more than 2 million times since it was implemented in March 2020 Mr.

But the court’s action was temporary, and in February it will consider whether the states had legal standing to intervene in the dispute.

White House press secretary Karin Jean-Pierre said the administration would comply, but said “Title 42 is a public health measure, not an immigration enforcement measure, and should not be extended indefinitely.”

She called on Republicans in Congress to “move past the political finger-pointing and join their Democratic colleagues in solving the challenge of our border by passing the comprehensive reform measures and providing the additional border security funds that President Biden has requested.” “.

The court’s order was not signed, but the court’s three liberal justices, along with conservative Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, dissented.

Gorsuch wrote that the court’s action was intended to help prevent a crisis at the border, but that was not the role of the judges.

“The current border crisis is not a COVID crisis,” Gorsuch wrote. “And courts should not be concerned with upholding administrative orders designed for one emergency just because elected officials have failed to deal with another emergency.” We are a court, not politicians of last resort.”

Gorsuch’s statement was joined by Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan would reject the states’ request, but did not give reasons.

The Biden administration said ending the policy would restore existing federal laws designed to punish and quickly deport migrants who cross the border illegally and protect those with legitimate asylum cases. That system is more efficient, officials said, especially for adults traveling without children, because Title 42 just pushes people across the border to try again.

Official border crossings remain essentially closed to asylum seekers while Title 42 remains in effect. That has helped fuel the flow of thousands of migrants crossing the border outside legal points of entry, hoping to surrender to border police and claim asylum that would allow them to remain — at least temporarily — in the United States.

The Texas National Guard blocked the flow of migrants across the border in El Paso

In November a a DC trial court judge vacated Title 42, siding with immigrant advocates who sued the government during the Trump administration, saying the policy puts migrants at risk and has no evidence it protects public health. U.S. District Judge Emmett G. Sullivan said the order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was put in place as a way to stop the spread of coronavirus — was “arbitrary and capricious” under federal law.

“It is undeniable that the impact on migrants is indeed dire,” Sullivan wrote.

The Biden administration has agreed that the policy must end, even as it struggles to deal with the influx of migrants. U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth B. Prelogar told the justices that the federal government recognizes that repealing Title 42 “is likely to result in a disruption and temporary increase in illegal border crossings.” But she wrote that the solution to this immigration problem “cannot be an indefinite extension of a public health measure that everyone now recognizes has outlived its public health rationale.”

The government, she wrote in a court filing, is prepared to increase resources and “implement new policies in response to the temporary disruption that is likely to occur whenever Title 42 orders expire.”

Republican state officials have asked the Supreme Court to step in and block the Biden administration’s plans to end the policy. Officials said a large increase in migrants crossing the border would burden their countries with additional costs for law enforcement and for providing services such as health care.

“No one reasonably disputes that the failure to grant a stay would cause a border crisis of unprecedented proportions,” the filing said. “Therefore, the idea that the United States will not suffer significant irreparable harm as a result of the coming catastrophe that will trigger the termination of Title 42 is fantastical.”

What is Title 42? Explaining Trump-era border policy

In April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention decided that the Title 42 initiative was no longer necessary to protect public health. The Biden administration told the Supreme Court this week that state officials have no valid legal grounds to challenge the change in immigration policy. If public officials are unhappy with the immigration system created by Congress, the government said their “remedy is to ask Congress to change the law — not to ask this court to force the government to continue to rely on an emergency and already outdated measure for public health.”

As the fate of the policy remains unclear and migrants continue to pour across the border, Republican governors have mobilized National Guard troops and attempted to create their own border barriers and obstacles. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott deployed more than 500 troops along the Rio Grande in El Paso this week, where troops blocked migrants with coils of wire. Footage on social media showed border crossers avoiding danger to reach US soil and surrender to US Border Patrol agents, the first step in seeking asylum.

In Arizona, Gov. Doug Ducey (R) has agreed to begin removing thousands of empty containers his administration sorted out the border with Mexico over the past few months. The Biden administration is suing Ducey in federal court, arguing that the installation of the huge metal boxes damages national forest land and other property that does not belong to the state of Arizona.

Arizona Gov.-elect Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, will succeed Ducey next month when his term expires. Hobbes has criticized the installation of shipping containers as wasteful and inefficient.

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