As widely expected, the Roberts Court is keeping Trump-era Title 42 immigration and asylum limits in place until SCOTUS can decide on the case next summer.
The Supreme Court is keeping pandemic-era limits on immigration in place indefinitely, dashing hopes of immigration advocates who had been anticipating their end this week.
In a ruling Tuesday, the Supreme Court extended a temporary stay that Chief Justice John Roberts issued last week. Under the court’s order, the case will be argued in February and the stay will be maintained until the justices decide the case.
The limits were put in place under then-President Donald Trump at the beginning of the pandemic. Under the restrictions, officials have expelled asylum-seekers inside the United States 2.5 million times and turned away most people who requested asylum at the border on grounds of preventing the spread of COVID-19. The restrictions are often referred to as Title 42 in reference to a 1944 public health law.
Immigration advocates sued to end the use of Title 42. They said the policy goes against American and international obligations to people fleeing to the U.S. to escape persecution. They’ve also argued that the policy is outdated as coronavirus treatments improve.
A federal judge sided with them in November and set a Dec. 21 deadline to end the policy. Conservative-leaning states appealed to the Supreme Court, warning that an increase in migration would take a toll on public services and cause an “unprecedented calamity” that they said the federal government had no plan to deal with.
Needless to say, this is another bizarre and deleterious ruling that if it stands, could allow individual states to set individual immigration restrictions instead of the federal government, a direct violation of the Constitution that specifically names the federal government as being in charge of the nation's immigration status.
It would of course mean absolute chaos, with SCOTUS then being in charge of the nation's immigration policy and keeping Title 42 in place forever, or until Congress created a new immigration policy, which won't happen anytime in my lifetime.
At the best case the federal government would be forced to enforce Title 42 and reject nearly all asylum-seekers, at worst case states would be able to, as I've said, set their own immigration policies and red states would have free reign to enforce the violent removal of "illegals" themselves, a new Operation Wetback for the 21st century that would put tens of millions of Americans at direct risk of military force.
Sadly, there's at least five votes to keep Title 42 restrictions in place forever, meaning SCOTUS would be entirely in charge of immigration policy until further notice.