Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts put a pause on ending Title 42, the pandemic era policy that allows for migrant expulsions at the border, which was due to expire on Wednesday.
On Monday night, Roberts ordered an “administrative stay” that allows the Court to consider an emergency application from 15 Republican state attorneys general asking that Title 42 remain while litigation continues.
The Supreme Court action comes after the Mayor of El Paso had declared a state of emergency over the weekend in anticipation of migrants flooding into his city increasing by roughly threefold when Title 42 was lifted.
Title 42 is a decades-old clause in the health code that allows the government to take emergency action to stop the “introduction of communicable diseases” into the U.S., but it had been rarely used until the Trump Administration implemented it as an immigration policy when the Covid pandemic struck. The Biden Administration continued its use, invoking it to expel migrants more than 2 million times, although many were repeat border-crossers.
In November, U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan ruled the Title 42 policy unlawful, calling it “arbitrary and capricious.”
Justice Roberts, who reviews emergency requests from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, gave the Department of Homeland Security and immigrant advocates until 5 p.m. Tuesday to respond to the request from Republican state officials, which was submitted on Monday. The call for responses typically means that the full Court will be involved in deciding the matter.