Updated Dec 19, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court temporarily halts end of Title 42 immigration policy

Photo of the Supreme Court's exterior

The U.S. Supreme Court is seen in the early morning hours of Nov. 4 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Samuel Corum via Getty Images

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts on Monday temporarily halted the end of the Title 42 policy that allows the U.S. to expel migrants at the southern border without the chance for asylum.

Why it matters: Roberts issued the administrative stay pending the high court's decision on whether to take up the case after a coalition of Republican-led states earlier Monday asked it to intervene. An appeals court had denied the states' bid to retain the controversial policy last week.

  • It's unclear how long the administrative stay will remain in place. The Trump-era policy had been set to expire Wednesday.

Worth noting: Monday's decision is procedural and does not indicate how the court will ultimately rule on the request for an emergency stay, Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, policy director at the American Immigration Council, told Axios' Stef Kight.

What they're saying: "Texas and other states are insisting that the Court leave Title 42 in place. Today's order is a step in that direction," Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) tweeted. "This helps prevent illegal immigration."

  • The Department of Homeland Security said in a statement Monday evening that the Title 42 order would remain in effect as required by the stay.
  • "While this stage of the litigation proceeds, we will continue our preparations to manage the border in a safe, orderly, and humane way when the Title 42 public health order lifts."
  • "We urge Congress to use this time to provide the funds we have requested for border security and management and advance the comprehensive immigration measures President Biden proposed on his first day in office," the DHS statement noted.

The big picture: Title 42 could remain in place for months if the legal dispute goes before the Supreme Court.

  • Immigration advocates say the policy unfairly denies migrants the chance to seek asylum — a human right under the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights — and they accuse Republicans of wielding Title 42 in an underhanded attempt to crack down on immigration.
  • Republicans, especially those living in the South, have countered that the record surge in border crossings must be stemmed. In an earlier court filing from GOP-led states, they argued they would suffer "irreparable harm from the impending Termination of Title 42."

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional reporting.

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