The Supreme Court has removed arguments from its calendar for a highly anticipated case on Title 42, a COVID-19 public health measure allowing Border Patrol to quickly expel some illegal aliens. The case was going to be heard March 1.
The Supreme Court announced Thursday that the case had been removed from its argument calendar. The high court did not provide an explanation as to why the justices would no longer hear arguments for the case, but it seems likely related to the Biden administration’s plan to officially end the COVID-19 public health emergency on May 11.
The Biden administration argues that the case is moot because Title 42 will end automatically when President Joe Biden rescinds the public health emergency.
“Absent other relevant developments, the end of the public health emergency will (among other consequences) terminate the Title 42 orders and moot this case,” Biden administration officials, including Solicitor General Elizabeth B. Prelogar, wrote in a recent brief filed with the Supreme Court.
The Biden administration moved to end Title 42 last year but faced opposition from a number of Republican states. In April, then-Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration for planning to rescind the health measure that was serving as a tool to limit illegal immigration. The measure was originally set to expire in December, but the Supreme Court placed a stay on the order, allowing Border Patrol agents to continue using the health measure to expel illegal aliens.
Republicans, and even some Democrats, have warned that an end to Title 42 will lead to an even greater flood of migrants attempting to cross the border illegally.
“The fact is, what we’ve got right now is not working and is about to break in a post-42 world unless we take some responsibility and ownership,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, told ABC News during a trip to the border in December.
El Paso, Texas, Mayor Oscar Leeser, a Democrat, declared a state of emergency in December, explaining that the city may not have the resources to handle a surge of illegal aliens crossing the border, especially if Title 42 is “going to be called back.”
In fiscal year 2022, which ended Sept. 30, Customs and Border Protection reported a record 2.3 million land encounters with migrants at the southern border. At over 870,000 total encounters between Oct. 1 and Jan. 31 (the first four months of fiscal year 2023), CBP encounters with illegal aliens are on track to overtake the previous year’s numbers.
“Even though the COVID public health emergency is ending in the United States, the Title 42 public health exclusions may still be justified because of serious COVID or other public health risks in Mexico and among the hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens that the Biden administration is allowing to cross our southern border every month,” Steve Bradbury, a distinguished fellow at The Heritage Foundation, the parent company of The Daily Signal, said.
Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas should act to “stop the unlawful mass release of these aliens into the U.S. and should instead use all available authorities to protect the American people from uncontrolled illegal immigration,” Bradbury added. “That includes not only Title 42, if justified on public health grounds, but also the ‘Remain in Mexico‘ program that was successfully implemented by the Trump administration and the detention and removal of unlawful aliens under the immigration laws.”
The Supreme Court’s announcement came the same day House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and four freshman GOP lawmakers visited the southern border in Arizona, met with Customs and Border Protection, and received an aerial tour of a section of the U.S.-Mexico border.
“I promise you this: The new majority in Congress, we’re going to fight to fix this problem,” McCarthy said of the border crisis during a press conference at the border Thursday.
House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries will visit the southern border in Laredo, Texas, Friday. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, will accompany Jeffries for briefings with law enforcement and an aerial tour of the border.
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