Court Battles

Conservative states ask Supreme Court to retain Title 42

Light illuminates part of the Supreme Court building on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

A group of 19 GOP state attorneys general petitioned the Supreme Court on Monday to continue the controversial Title 42 immigration authority ahead of its expiration later this week.

The Washington, D.C., federal appeals court on Friday rejected an effort by Republican officials to extend the policy, which allows officials to quickly expel foreign nationals at the border under the guise of public health protections.

That ruling allowed a district court’s order for the policy to end by Dec. 21 to move forward, so the attorneys general on Monday asked the Supreme Court to step in and issue an administrative stay so the policy can continue.

The attorneys general argued their states would suffer irreparable harm if Title 42 ends, as it is expected to lead to a surge in already high levels of migrant encounters along the border.

“Getting rid of Title 42 will recklessly and needlessly endanger more Americans and migrants by exacerbating the catastrophe that is occurring at our southern border,” Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R) said in a statement. “Unlawful crossings are estimated to surge from 7,000 per day to as many as 18,000.”

Title 42, which was first rolled out by the Trump administration as the pandemic shut down normal life, has been met with harsh criticisms from the left and immigration advocates who argue that the policy gutted the nation’s asylum system and is being used by the Biden administration for reasons not related to public health.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan last month ordered the end of the policy, ruling it was arbitrary and capricious in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act.

“It is unreasonable for the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] to assume that it can ignore the consequences of any actions it chooses to take in the pursuit of fulfilling its goals, particularly when those actions included the extraordinary decision to suspend the codified procedural and substantive rights of noncitizens seeking safe harbor,” Sullivan ruled.

Sullivan gave the Biden administration until this Wednesday to end the policy.

The impending end of Title 42, which has been welcomed by immigration advocates, has also raised fresh concerns about how to handle the potential influx of migrants at the southern border.

“If the courts don’t intervene and put a halt of removal to the Title 42, it’s going to be total chaos,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said on Sunday during an appearance on ABC’s “This Week.”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said last week that lifting Title 42 could “break” his state.

The Department of Homeland Security last week released a six-point plan to handle the end of the policy, but Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas acknowledged the nation’s immigration system is “outdated” and “under strain.”

“That is true at the federal level, as well as for state, local, NGO and community partners,” Mayorkas said in a statement last Tuesday. “In the absence of congressional action to reform the immigration and asylum systems, a significant increase in migrant encounters will strain our system even further.”

Tags Alejandro Mayorkas Emmet Sullivan Gavin Newsom immigration Mark Brnovich Supreme Court Title 42

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