Updated Dec 20, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Biden administration asks Supreme Court to let Trump-era immigration policy end

Photo of migrants lined up at a fence

Immigrants seeking asylum turn themselves in to U.S. Border Patrol agents after wading across the Rio Grande to El Paso, Texas on Dec. 18, 2022. Photo: John Moore via Getty Images

The Biden administration urged the Supreme Court Tuesday to let the Trump-era Title 42 border policy end as GOP-led states push to keep it in place — but requested a short pause on lifting it for operational reasons.

Driving the news: Title 42, which allows the U.S. to expel migrants at the southern border without the chance for asylum, had been set to expire Wednesday before the Supreme Court temporarily halted its termination to consider taking up the case.

  • The coalition of Republican states has argued that the termination of Title 42 will cause "irreparable harm," but the Department of Justice countered in its filing Tuesday that the states "assert no interests even arguably within the zone protected by Title 42."
  • Their interest in avoiding "immigration consequences cannot justify extending a public-health measure that is no longer supported by public-health conditions."

What to watch: The administration, however, requested that the high court keep Title 42 in place until next week at the earliest.

  • "[T]he government respectfully requests that, if the Court denies the application before December 23, it leave the current administrative stay in place until 11:59 p.m. on December 27," the court filing reads.
  • This would allow the government to prepare to return to pre-pandemic operations, "with new policies tailored to the consequences of the end of the Title 42 orders — a complex, multi-agency undertaking with policy, operational, and foreign relations dimensions," per the filing.

The big picture: The Biden administration has been seriously considering both expanding a parole program to Nicaraguans, Cubans and Haitians as well as imposing an asylum ban after the end of Title 42, as Axios previously reported.

  • The policy could remain in place for months if the legal dispute goes before the Supreme Court.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with details from the court filing.

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