(Update 1: Adds details, edits throughout, changes headline, lede)
Washington, Dec 27 (EFE).- The United States will continue to expel most migrants arriving at the country’s southern border using Title 42, a pandemic-era Trump administration policy, after the Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered that it remain in place for now.
“As required by today’s Supreme Court order, the Title 42 public health order will remain in effect and individuals who attempt to enter the United States unlawfully will continue to be expelled to Mexico or their home country,” the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in a statement, after learning of the court order that leaves hundreds of migrants waiting in Mexico in limbo.
“The border is not open, and we will continue to fully enforce our immigration laws,” it added.
The border between Mexico and the US is still crowded with migrants waiting for the health regulation put in place by Donald Trump to be lifted.
Title 42 was originally due to expire on Dec. 21, but on Dec. 19, Chief Supreme Court Justice John Roberts blocked it.
In a 5-4 vote, Supreme Court judges agreed Tuesday to the request of 19 Republican state attorneys general to freeze the suspension of Title 42 while the future of the regulation is resolved in court.
In the statement, DHS said that it “will continue to manage the border, but we do so within the constraints of a decades-old immigration system that everyone agrees is broken.”
It demanded Congress pass reforms to the immigration system as proposed by President Joe Biden.
Biden told reporters at the White House that his government will continue to apply Title 42, although he said it was “overdue” to end.
“The court is not going to decide until June, apparently, and in the meantime, we have to enforce it. But I think it’s overdue,” the president said before leaving for the Virgin Islands, where he will celebrate the New Year with his family.
Influential Democratic Senator Bob Menendez asked the Biden government to take other measures to expand legal immigration channels in response to the Supreme Court’s decision, “rather than relying on this Trump relic.”
He added that Title 42 is an “affront to our nation’s values and it goes against every word that is etched on the Statue of Liberty.”
Human rights organizations also condemned the court’s decision, pointing out that it prevents the right to asylum.
“The Supreme Court’s decision to extend the stay (…) will have deadly consequences for people fleeing persecution,” Melissa Crow, director of litigation at the UC Hastings’ Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, said in a statement.
The International Rescue Committee said that upholding Title 42 will “deny asylum-seekers their legal right to protection in the US.”
“Since March 2020, Title 42 has been used to justify nearly 2.5 million expulsions despite US legal obligations under international and domestic law to provide all asylum-seekers the right to seek safety,” it added.
“There is no public health rationale for this policy to continue insofar as international borders have remained mainly open to other travelers for most of the Covid-19 pandemic, and nationally, most pandemic-era restrictions have been rolled back.”
The group of prosecutors from 19 states, including Texas, alleged that the suspension would cause “massive and irreparable damage” in immigration matters. EFE