Crime & Justice

Supreme Court orders US government to keep Title 42 in place

Washington, Dec 27 (EFE).- The US Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the Joe Biden administration to keep Title 42 in place, the public health measure approved by the previous administration during the Covid-19 pandemic whereby US authorities can quickly deport illegal migrants intercepted at the border.

The high court, in a 5-4 decision, thus agreed with the request of the attorneys general of 19 states to halt the pending suspension of Title 42 while it sorts out the future of the regulation.

Various crossing points along the US-Mexico border at this time remain jammed with migrants awaiting the decision the Supreme Court handed down on Tuesday after magistrates had already provisionally halted the elimination of the measure, set for Dec. 21.

Now, the high court has ordered the measure to be maintained indefinitely, at least until the justices can hear the oral arguments of the parties pro and con during its next session, and that will not be possible until February 2023.

The court will then have to issue a definitive ruling after examining the case and it is not known how long the magistrates will take to do that although a final decision is anticipated by June 2023.

A group of attorneys general from 19 states, including Texas, forced the court to provisionally rule on the matter alleging that suspending Title 42 would cause massive and irreparable harm to the country in terms of its immigration policy.

A federal judge in the District of Columbia in mid-November had ordered the suspension of Title 42, finding it to be “arbitrary and capricious” and with minimal public health impact despite its purported purpose to slow the spread of Covid-19.

That decision was appealed by the attorneys general of the 19 states.

That judge, Emmett Sullivan, refused to grant the motion of the 19 states to intervene in the case, and that group turned to the Supreme Court, asking the magistrates there to put the suspension on hold and review the lower court’s ruling.

The states argue that an immigration crisis will result if Title 42 is suspended and that the government has not taken adequate measures to deal with that potential situation.

The Supreme Court must now hear the arguments of both sides and decide the matter.

The decision handed down Tuesday afternoon by the high court was opposed by the body’s three liberal justices but also by one conservative, Neil Gorsuch, claiming that Title 42 – a public health measure that they say is no longer necessary – should no longer be used to control immigration flow at the border.

Gorsuch wrote in a dissenting opinion that “the current border crisis is not a COVID crisis,” adding that “courts should not be in the business of perpetuating administrative edicts designed for one emergency only because elected officials have failed to address a different emergency. We are a court of law, not a policymaker of last resort.”

Title 42 has been broadly criticized by human rights organizations.

“The … decision to continue Title 42 will prolong the use of public health justifications as an excuse to deny asylum-seekers their legal right to protection in the U.S.,” said the International Rescue Committee in a statement on Tuesday.

Since March 2020, when the measure began to be implemented, the US has expelled more than 2.5 million illegal migrants along the US border, according to the organization.

EFE aaca/pamp/bp

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