Here’s what the Supreme Court’s decision on Title 42 means

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The Supreme Court has postponed debate over immigration policy until the spring, upholding the Trump administration’s border measures that limit the flow of immigrants into the United States.

On Tuesday, a court ruled that Title 42, which for the past two years had allowed the government to deport immigrants who might qualify for asylum because of the COVID-19 pandemic, should remain in place. was dropped.

The decision is a win for Republican officials who opposed the rule’s repeal, and a reprieve of sorts for the Biden administration. of the rules.

Here’s what you need to know about the rules and how the Supreme Court’s decision will affect what’s happening on the southern border.

Trump and pandemic-era rules

Title 42 was first implemented by the Trump administration during the outbreak of the pandemic in early 2020, allowing for the rapid deportation of immigrants at the southern border.

While officials in both the Trump and Biden administrations have described it as a public health measure, immigration advocates say the public is preventing immigrants fleeing violence and poverty from entering the United States legally. It claims to be an immigration enforcement tool masquerading as sanitary protocols.

Title 42 expressly allows governments to deny asylum-seeking immigrants on public health grounds without a public hearing. In practice, it has been used against immigrants from many countries who may have real reasons for asylum, including those from Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Haiti, etc.

The Biden administration called for the policy to be lifted and was scheduled to be lifted on December 21st, but the Supreme Court ordered a moratorium on December 19th and maintained it. The court’s ruling Tuesday hears claims from 19 mostly Republican-led states opposing the lifting of Title 42, at least extending his stay until February.

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The White House has said for weeks it was gearing up for the end of Title 42, but has faced pressure over whether it is ready for an expected immigration surge at the southern border. .

Authorities had yet to release detailed plans for how they would handle the influx of people.

“Today’s Supreme Court order maintains current Title 42 policy while the court considers the matter in 2023. Of course, we intend to comply with the order and prepare for the court’s review,” the report said. Official Karine Jean-Pierre said. statement.

“At the same time, we are preparing to manage our borders in a safe, orderly and humane manner when Title 42 is finally lifted and we continue to expand legal pathways for immigration.” Jean-Pierre added.

Without Title 42, the surge is expected, as thousands of asylum-seekers should be able to request and receive hearings on their claims under U.S. law.

President Biden said a decision on Title 42 is overdue and his administration will continue to implement measures.

But the ruling doesn’t completely solve Biden’s problems. Many of those displaced simply did not return to their home countries, and courts may make a final decision to lift the policy in early summer, when border arrests are often at their highest.

The White House didn’t criticize the court for the decision, but at a time when Republicans are blaming the administration over immigration policy, officials have a few more weeks to prepare for the end of the policy.


Biden has been called by Republicans to visit the border, which he said is in crisis.

There have been record numbers of arrests at the southern border in recent months. Customs and Border Patrol figures show authorities made 233,740 immigrant arrests in November.

Officials have called on Congress to pass immigration reform that would provide border officials with much-needed funding and upgrade what the White House believes to be a broken system. It is highly unlikely that it will pass a divided parliament in a few months.

The Department of Homeland Security said in a statement Tuesday that the border was “not open and will continue to fully enforce immigration laws.”

“We will continue to manage our borders, but we will do so within the constraints of a decades-old immigration system that everyone agrees on,” the DHS said. We must pass the comprehensive immigration reform bill we proposed today.”

A blow to advocacy groups

In the meantime, the ruling is a blow to advocacy groups that have been calling for the repeal of Title 42 for years.

Activists and civil rights groups believe Title 42 was deployed by the Trump administration as a way to use the pandemic to curb immigration, and that the policy allowed people to seek asylum to escape violence, poverty, and other harsh conditions. Eligible immigrants are suffering.

Lee Gellert, an American Civil Liberties Union attorney who is leading the Title 42 challenge, said it was “a horrific policy that has caused so much damage to asylum seekers that it can no longer be justified as a public health measure. ‘ said.

Patrick Gaspard, director of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, an influential progressive think tank, says Republicans are politicizing the issue and hindering efforts to reform immigration. condemned.

“Immigrants are no more likely than any other traveler to spread COVID-19, so there is no scientific or public health justification to continue Title 42,” Gaspard said. It is not an effective strategy to strengthen or strengthen

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