Supreme Court temporarily halts termination of Title 42, will hear case in February

The Supreme Court temporarily halted the termination of Title 42 on Tuesday, allowing the Trump-era policy to remain in place until the justices hear a challenge from Republican-led states in February. 

The policy, which was originally enacted at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, allows immigration officials to quickly expel migrants on public health grounds. 

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan sided with immigration advocates last month who argued that the policy is no longer necessary, setting an end date of Dec. 21. 

Chief Justice John Roberts put a temporary hold on Title 42’s termination on Dec. 19. 

In Tuesday’s 5-4 ruling, Justices John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, and Clarence Thomas agreed to hear a challenge from Republican-led states during the February 2023 argu­ment session.

While the stay prevents the district court’s order vacating Title 42, it does not ‘prevent the federal government from taking any action with respect to that policy.’ 

Justice Neil Gorsuch joined the high court’s three liberal justices, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Ketanji Brown Jackson, in dissenting. 

‘Even the federal government acknowledges ‘that the end of the Title 42 orders will likely have disruptive consequences,’’ Justice Gorsuch wrote. 

‘But the current border crisis is not a COVID crisis. And 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 policymak­ers of last resort.’ 

Title 42 has been used to deter migrants more than 2.5 million times. Despite that, a record 2.3 million migrants were encountered at the border in fiscal year 2022, according to Customs and Border Protection. 

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