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US Supreme Court keeps controversial border policy in place


WASHINGTON: The US government’s two-year-old policy invoking Covid-19 precautions to deny hundreds of thousands of migrants at the Mexican border will remain in place for now, Supreme Court rules. decided on Tuesday.
The decision to uphold the controversial rule is known as topic 42 delayed an impending political crisis for President Joe Biden, as thousands waited at the southern border hoping the policy was coming to an end.
But the conservative-dominated high court has accepted a petition from 19 states warning of an increase in migrants if a policy introduced under former president Donald Trump in March 2020 is lifted. by order of a lower court.
Supreme Court says Title 42 – allows for quick deportation of even those who may be eligible refugee – will remain in place pending a ruling on the matter and that it will hear the case in February.
“The states argue that they face an immigration crisis at the border and that policymakers have failed to agree on appropriate measures to address the issue,” the court said in its ruling. decided on 5-4.
“The only means left to mitigate the crisis, the states propose, is an order from this Court directing the federal government to continue Covid-era Title 42 policies for as long as possible.”
The ruling could give the Biden administration, which has acknowledged that Title 42 is wrong and prepared for a surge in migrants seeking asylum, until May or June before making a final decision. .
Leaving the White House for a vacation on Tuesday night, Biden told reporters the termination of Title 42 was “overdue,” but that the administration would heed the court’s decision until a final verdict is reached. launched, probably in June.
“In the meantime, we have to enforce it,” Biden said.
White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said earlier in the day the administration would prepare for the next hearing.
“We are accelerating preparations to manage our borders in a safe, orderly and humane manner when Title 42 is finally lifted,” Jean-Pierre said in a statement.
“Title 42 is a public health measure, not an immigration enforcement measure, and it should not be extended indefinitely.”
“To really fix our broken immigration system, we need Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform,” she said.
Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy said that removing Title 42 “would make our border crisis worse, and the White House seems ready to let that happen.”
“Glad to see the Supreme Court intervene to preserve it, but we need a permanent solution,” he wrote on Twitter.
While the government is already preparing for the end of Title 42 with more staff and more fences along the border, it remains unclear how it can prevent the expected increase.
About 2.5 million people were blocked trying to cross the southern US border in the 12 months to November.
While two years ago most of the migrants came from Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, now more than half come from further afield – from Nicaragua, Venezuela, Cuba, Eastern Europe and Asia.
The soaring number of migrants at the border presents an increasingly painful political problem for Biden and his Democratic Party, whose party Republicans have repeatedly sought to downplay illegal immigration.
Critics have deemed Title 42 “inhumane.”
“As a Covid control strategy, a humanitarian policy and a border policy, Title 42 not only failed, but caused havoc,” said Karla Marisol Vargas, senior attorney with the Texas Civil Rights Project. cause irreversible harm on a large scale.
“People continue to make the long and perilous journey to the border, because for many Black, Indigenous, and Brown communities, the United States remains their last and best chance of survival.” she said.
Washington-based International Refugees Organization also objected to a similar decision, saying that the Supreme Court “will be responsible for what lower courts call ‘irreparable harm’ that occurs.” with asylum seekers deported under Title 42.”
The Supreme Court’s decision was largely divided on ideological lines and raised new questions about the conservative majority’s willingness to intervene in hot-button political issues.
The petitions they accepted were from 19 conservative states ruled by Republicans who didn’t even join the original Title 42 lawsuit.
Five conservatives had a majority in the decision, while conservative Neil Gorsuch sided with three of the court’s progressives in opposing the Title 42 expansion.
In his dissent, Gorsuch said he understands border states’ concerns about the increase in migrants.
However, he wrote, “the current border crisis is not a Covid crisis. And the courts shouldn’t be in the business of maintaining administrative orders designed for an emergency just because of the circumstances. elected officials failed to address another emergency.”

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