SCOTUS Leaves Border Policy in Place Indefinitely

Court extends pandemic-era limits
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 27, 2022 5:00 PM CST
SCOTUS Leaves Pandemic-Era Border Rule in Place
Migrants from Venezuela prepare for relocation to a refugee shelter in Matamoros, Mexico, Friday, Dec. 23, 2022.   (AP Photo/Fernando Llano, File)

The Supreme Court is keeping pandemic-era limits on immigration in place indefinitely, dashing hopes of immigration advocates who had been anticipating their end this week. In a ruling Tuesday, the Supreme Court extended a temporary stay that Chief Justice John Roberts issued last week. Under the court’s order, the case will be argued in February and the stay will be maintained until the justices decide the case, the AP reports. The limits, often referred to as Title 42 in reference to a 1944 public health law, were put in place under then-President Donald Trump at the beginning of the pandemic. Under the restrictions, officials have expelled asylum-seekers inside the United States 2.5 million times and turned away most people who requested asylum at the border on grounds of preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Immigration advocates sued to end the policy, saying it goes against American and international obligations to people fleeing to the US to escape persecution. They’ve also argued that the policy is outdated as coronavirus treatments improve. The Supreme Court’s decision comes as thousands of migrants have gathered on the Mexican side of the border, filling shelters and worrying advocates who are scrambling to figure out how to care for them. "We are deeply disappointed for all the desperate asylum seekers who will continue to suffer because of Title 42, but we will continue fighting to eventually end the policy," said Lee Gelernt, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union, which had been arguing to end Title 42's use.

The ruling Tuesday said specifically that the Supreme Court will review the issue of whether the states have the right to intervene in the legal fight over Title 42. Both the federal government and the immigration advocates have argued that the states waited too long to intervene and even if they hadn’t waited so long, that they don’t have sufficient standing to intervene. In a dissent, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Ketanji Brown Jackson said that even if the court were to find the states have the right to intervene and Title 42 was lawfully adopted ".... the emergency on which those orders were premised has long since lapsed." The judges said the "current border crisis is not a COVID crisis."

(More asylum stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.