The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that the government cannot stop the expulsion of migrants under Title 42, a controversial program. This is a major blow to the ability of the Biden administration to determine the nation’s immigration policy.
This program, which was in place from the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in early days, must be continued while courts evaluate a lawsuit by Republican officials from 19 states who claim that removing Title 42 policy would lead to a national “catastrophe.”
After the Trump-era program was due to expire, the high court acted in an emergency. While the justices said they would hear arguments on the program during the next year, their focus was limited to whether conservative states could intervene in the litigation. Oral arguments will be heard in February. In the meantime, expulsions continue.
In an unsigned order, the high court noted that Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justices, would have denied the emergency request of the states. This allowed the administration’s lift of Title 42 policy.
Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch and Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson voted against Tuesday’s court ruling. Gorsuch added that the court’s decision regarding the emergency request of the states was “unwise”. “The emergency upon which these (Title 42), orders were based has long since expired.”
Gorsuch stated that the only reason to intervene is because of the concern states have about immigration and the current situation at the border.
Gorsuch stated, “But the current border crisis is not a COVID emergency.” “And courts shouldn’t be in the business to perpetuate administrative edicts for one emergency because elected officials have failed to address another emergency.” “We are a court for law, not policymaker’s last resort.”
Although President Joe Biden lost the case in court, it had political ramifications. The effort by the administration to repeal Title 42 has been criticized sharply by Republicans and uncertainly by Democrats. Democrats fear that the border communities are not ready for an influx. Although it seemed to ease the situation temporarily, the Supreme Court decision left thousands of migrants in limbo.
Title 42 allows Customs and Border Protection agents, without the need for a legal review to Mexico or their home countries, to expel migrants. This is done to stop the spread of COVID-19 from holding facilities. Title 42 has been used more than 2.4 million times to expel migrants since its inception in 2020. It has also saved tens of thousands of migrants who were waiting to apply for asylum in the United States from being held in Mexican border cities by Title 42.
In April, the Biden administration declared that it would end Title 42 because of the fact that vaccines and therapeutics had reduced the impact of the virus. In November, a Washington federal court ruled that the creation of the program violated the law. The administration was ordered to stop it by Dec. 21. The Supreme Court temporarily suspended that mandate.
Legal wrangling created a potential humanitarian crisis at the White House. It also caused confusion on both sides bordering the border. Many migrants waited to hear if they could apply for asylum in the United States. The El Paso Times was told by some Juarez migrants that they heard the border would close on Dec. 21, while others said it would open. People who stayed in shelters shared stories about friends who were expelled or others who were able to remain in the U.S.
As lawmakers raced to approve the $1.7 trillion spending plan, Title 42 debate reached the Senate floor on Dec. 22. Two last-minute amendments to the program that would have extended it failed.
Biden administration officials claim they have rushed to get resources to the border, but they also call on Congress for more than $3B to expedite the processing of asylum applications and move some migrants to better-suited facilities. Karine Jean-Pierre, White House press secretary, stated that Congress must give them the funds they have requested in order to make this happen in a safe, humane, and orderly manner.
According to the White House, the president will visit Mexico next month to meet with Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Mexican President, and to attend the North American Leaders Summit. There will be a re-emergence of the long-standing tension between Washington, Mexico City, and migrants who have crossed into Mexico for entry to the U.S.