The State of Texas and other states led by Republicans had sought to block U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan’s decision requiring the Biden administration to end the program on Wednesday. The federal appeals court for the District of Columbia denied their appeal on Friday.
The U.S. Supreme Court could override both Sullivan and the appeals court and require the continuation of Title 42, though it is anything but certain that the justices will do so.
Hundreds of thousands of people have been quickly expelled under Title 42 after crossing the southern border illegally. The order was initially enforced by the Trump administration at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) previously determined that the policy was no longer necessary from a public health perspective and scheduled its termination. A federal judge in Louisiana, Robert Summerhays, blocked that decision. Sullivan issued his opinion in a different lawsuit filed by interest groups favoring more lenient immigration policies.
Sullivan previously ordered the Biden administration to stop expelling unaccompanied minors using Title 42. Family units and single adults are subject to removal under the order. U.S. Customs and Border Protection has reported an increased rate of repeated attempts to cross the border illegally, which it ascribes to the rapid expulsions under Title 42.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that the federal government is crafting guidelines that could provide a way for people from countries such as Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela to apply for protection in the U.S. However, most foreign nationals would be denied asylum under the plan the Biden administration is mulling.
Illegal immigration is already spiking in El Paso and elsewhere along the border, and unlawful border crossings are expected to skyrocket once Title 42 formally ends. El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser declared a state of emergency on Saturday as the city struggles to provide shelter and other supplies to illegal aliens.
While the policy was initially put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, it has become intertwined in the border security debate; critics contend it is being used as an immigration policy instead of a public health measure.
Republicans and other border security proponents say the use of Title 42 is critical to prevent a flood of illegal immigration that will overwhelm jurisdictions such as El Paso. Even New York City Mayor Eric Adams, who has criticized Gov. Greg Abbott for busing noncitizens to his city, expressed alarm about his city’s lack of capacity to provide basic necessities for thousands of people being bused to his city after crossing the border illegally.
Without the CDC’s public health measure, those suspected of crossing the border illegally will be prosecuted under Title 8, the nation’s regular immigration laws.
GOP members of Texas’ congressional delegation outlined legislation last week that includes provisions to address fraudulent claims of asylum. The framework also included myriad other policies designed to deter illegal immigration and impose harsher punishments for human trafficking and drug trafficking.
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Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."