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Supreme Court blocks lifting of Trump-era Title 42 border policy

The Supreme Court’s order on Tuesday essentially preserves the status quo on the border while the High Court receives a full brief and arguments on the legal issues involved. The court said oral arguments on the Title 42 policy will take place in February or March. This makes a final decision likely by the end of June.

Judges Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan did not explain their decisions to the dissent.

In his written dissent, Gorsuch, a Trump appointee, said he had not ignored states’ concerns about a possible border crisis, but said the “urgency” on which the Title 42 orders have adopted “has long since expired”.

“For my part, I do not disregard the concerns of the states,” wrote Gorsuch, who was joined by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. “But the current border crisis is not a COVID crisis. And the courts should not be tasked with perpetuating administrative decrees designed for one emergency only because elected officials failed to respond to another emergency. We are a court of law, not policy makers of last resort. »

Since March 2020, when the Covid pandemic took hold in the United States, the Title 42 order allowed border agents to immediately deport migrants who crossed the southern border for public health reasons. But earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the agency that officially issues the guideline, determined it was no longer needed, noting that Covid cases were well below counts in 2020. The president Joe Biden also said the “pandemic is over.

The court’s decision marks a new chapter in the Biden administration’s rocky journey to resolve and end Trump-era immigration policies. Even as administration officials planned to prepare for the end of Title 42, the situation on the southern border became a political headache for the White House, with Republicans regularly attacking the administration for failing to hold back migration and moderate Democrats echoing these concerns.

Responding to Tuesday’s decision, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the Biden administration will comply with the ruling while continuing to prepare for the eventual end of Title 42.

“Title 42 is a public health measure, not an immigration enforcement measure, and it should not be extended indefinitely,” Jean-Pierre said in a statement.

“Today’s order gives Republicans in Congress ample time to move past political accusations and join fellow Democrats in resolving the challenge at our border by passing comprehensive reform measures and providing additional funds for security. borders that President Biden has asked for,” she added.

Administration officials were pushing to finalize plans to deal with an impending surge, people familiar with the planning told POLITICO this month. The Department of Homeland Security was considering reviving a “transit ban” model, which would bar migrants from seeking asylum in the United States unless they are first turned back to a safe haven by another countries like Mexico. The department has also stepped up new training for asylum officers to help them understand who qualifies under the International Convention Against Torture and is considering an expansion of humanitarian parole programs for Haitians, Nicaraguans and Cubans.

Immigration reform advocates denounced the court’s decision on Tuesday. Lee Gelernt of the American Civil Liberties Union, lead counsel in the Title 42 case, vowed to continue “challenging this policy that has done so much harm to asylum seekers and can no longer be justified in plausibly as a public health measure”.


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