U.S. Supreme Court Dismisses Title 42 Border Expulsions Dispute

The U.S. Supreme Court made a significant decision on Thursday, dismissing a case that revolved around the controversial Title 42 policy. This policy, which was initially introduced under former President Donald Trump’s administration, enabled American officials to expel hundreds of thousands of migrants swiftly at the U.S.-Mexican border. Republicans had sought to uphold this policy, but the Supreme Court’s ruling puts an end to their efforts.

The Title 42 policy was implemented in March 2020, during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, as a measure tied to public health emergencies. However, President Joe Biden’s administration allowed the policy to expire just last week, replacing it with new asylum restrictions. This shift marked a change in approach to immigration policy between the two administrations.

The case that the Supreme Court considered involved a group of Republican state attorneys general who aimed to intervene and defend the Title 42 policy. U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan had previously declared the public health order associated with the policy unlawful in a lawsuit filed by asylum-seeking migrant families. In December, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to maintain the Title 42 policy, temporarily suspending Sullivan’s ruling.

In February, the Justice Department declared that the case would become moot since the Biden administration had announced the expiration of Title 42, citing the end of the recognition of the COVID-19 public health emergency as of May 11. Consequently, the Supreme Court removed the case from its argument calendar.

The Supreme Court’s decision also invalidated a lower court’s ruling that rejected the states’ request to intervene, as the justices determined that the states’ appeal had become irrelevant.

Justice Neil Gorsuch, a conservative member of the Supreme Court who had previously dissented from the decision to uphold Title 42 in December, expressed agreement with the dismissal. Gorsuch reiterated his criticism, stating that “the current border crisis is not a COVID crisis.” He further argued that the court had erred in December by allowing nonparties to manipulate the docket, prolonging an emergency decree designed for one crisis to address an entirely different one. Gorsuch viewed the dismissal as a step towards rectifying that error.

The Supreme Court’s ruling carries significant implications for immigration policy at the U.S.-Mexican border. It marks a shift away from the Trump administration’s approach and aligns with the Biden administration’s efforts to implement new asylum restrictions. As the country continues to grapple with the complexities of immigration, the Supreme Court’s decision sets a precedent for future cases and legal challenges in this domain.


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