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Supreme Court leaves Title 42 migrant rule in place for now

Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch broke from conservative justices Tuesday, voting against a stay for Title 42 to no avail as the court ruled 5-4 to keep the rule in place while it awaits oral arguments in February. File Photo by Eric Lee/UPI
1 of 2 | Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch broke from conservative justices Tuesday, voting against a stay for Title 42 to no avail as the court ruled 5-4 to keep the rule in place while it awaits oral arguments in February. File Photo by Eric Lee/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 27 (UPI) -- The Supreme Court will put off its decision on whether or not it will end Title 42 until at least June 2023, leaving the immigration rule in place until then.

The court ruled 5-4 Tuesday to put its decision on hold so it may consider arguments, largely from Republican-led states, seeking to keep Title 42 in place. Neil Gorsuch was the only conservative justice to join three liberal justices in voting against a stay.

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Title 42 was established in 1944. It allows the government authority to reject migrants as a way to stop the transmission of contagious diseases.

Former President Donald Trump enacted Title 42 in 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic was on the rise worldwide. With the rule in place, migrants, including some who may otherwise be able to start the process of seeking asylum in the United States, are instead deported in a much quicker manner.

With the decision, the court will begin hearings on Title 42 in February, with the expectation of making a ruling by the end of June.

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Nineteen attorneys general from Republican-led states joined to file an emergency motion to keep Title 42 in place.

Gorsuch joined Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson with the opinion that the court should not act as "policymakers of last resort." He argued that while he shares the concerns over immigration, Title 42 was activated in the name of slowing COVID-19 transmission and not as a solution to the "border crisis."

"Even if at the end of it all we find that the States are permitted to intervene, and even if the States manage on remand to demonstrate that the Title 42 orders were lawfully adopted, the emergency on which those orders were premised has long since lapsed," Gorsuch wrote.

"The current border crisis is not a COVID crisis."

Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar shared a similar view of the rule in a filing with the Supreme Court prior to Tuesday's decision.

"The government in no way seeks to minimize the seriousness of that problem. But the solution to that immigration problem cannot be to extend indefinitely a public-health measure that all now acknowledge has outlived its public-health justification," she wrote.

President Joe Biden attempted to end Title 42 after pressure from asylum seekers, human rights organizations and a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

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Supreme Court Justice John Roberts blocked the Biden administration from ending Title 42, preventing it from expiring last Wednesday. The Biden administration has been hesitant to end Title 42 as well, concerned with a potential influx of migrants at the southern border.

Title 42 has been used more than 2 million times to deport migrants from the southern border since being put in place in 2020.

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