COVID Border Restrictions for Immigrants After US Supreme Court Order

Washington/Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Dec. 19 (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court said on Monday that Covid-era restrictions on the U.S.-Mexico border that have prevented hundreds of thousands of migrants from seeking asylum must be put in place now. That brought a legal challenge with Republicans.

The restrictions, known as Title 42, were implemented at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 under former Republican President Donald Trump and gave border officials the ability to quickly deport immigrants to Mexico without the opportunity to seek U.S. asylum.

US President Joe Biden, a Democrat, campaigned on overturning Trump’s tough immigration measures before taking office in 2021, but kept Title 42 in place for more than a year. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said this year that Title 42 is no longer needed for public health reasons, and the Biden administration has said it wants to end it, but will be bound by court rulings.

In response to a lawsuit originally brought by asylum-seeking immigrants represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, a federal judge ruled Title 42 illegal last month. The judge set the restrictions on Wednesday, Dec. 21.

But a group of 19 states with Republican attorneys general tried to overturn that decision by intervening in the case and took their request to the conservative-leaning Supreme Court on Monday.

Hours later, Chief Justice John Roberts, in a brief order, granted a stay on Title 42 until further notice from the court. The court said the parties in the legal dispute have until 5pm ET (2200 GMT) on Tuesday to respond.

After Robert’s action, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) stated that Title 42 “is currently in effect and that individuals attempting to enter the United States illegally will continue to be deported to Mexico.”

The Biden administration is preparing for Title 42, which expires Wednesday, and press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday the White House is asking Congress for more than $3 billion in additional personnel, technology, immigrant shelters and transportation. US-Mexico border.

The push for more resources comes as U.S. officials prepare for the possibility that 9,000 to 14,000 people a day could try to enter the U.S. if Title 42 is repealed, more than double the current rate, Reuters and other outlets reported.

The Biden administration has been weighing plans privately with government officials to prepare for the end of Title 42 Discusses several Trump-style plans To prevent people from crossing, including stopping single adults seeking asylum at the US-Mexico border.

DHS last week Improved the Six Pillar Scheme If Title 42 is terminated, the expedited deportation process should be expanded. The revised DHS plan suggests expanding legal pathways for immigrants from abroad to enter the country, similar to a plan launched in October for Venezuelans.

Border towns are overflowing

Since Biden took office in January 2021, half of the 4 million migrants encountered at the US-Mexico border have been deported under Title 42, while the other half have been allowed into the US to pursue their immigration cases.

Mexico accepts only certain nationalities, including some Central Americans and, more recently, Venezuelans.

For months, El Paso, Texas, has been receiving large groups of migrants seeking asylum, including many Nicaraguans who cannot be deported to Mexico. On Saturday, the city’s mayor declared a state of emergency to move migrants off city streets as temperatures dipped below freezing.

U.S. Rep. Henry Cullard, a Democrat whose south Texas district borders the border with Mexico, said U.S. border officials told him there were 50,000 people in Mexico waiting for a chance to cross.

“If Title 42 is in place, we have to keep waiting,” said Lina Jouhari, a Venezuelan immigrant who said she tried to enter the U.S. from Ciudad Juarez on Dec. 1 but was sent back to Mexico under Title 42. “If we know this means they’ll send us back, it won’t do us any good to try to cross again.”

El Paso has struggled to provide shelters for immigrants, even as many go to join relatives in other parts of the United States.

Rescue Mission in El Paso, a shelter near the border, housed 280 people last week, exceeding its 190-person capacity, with people sleeping on cots and air mattresses in the chapel, library and conference rooms, said Nicole Reulet, the shelter’s marketing director. The director, in an interview with Reuters.

“We have people where we say, ‘We don’t have room,'” he said. “They’re begging for a spot on the floor.”

Reporting by Ted Hessen in Washington and Jose Luis Gonzalez in Ciudad Juarez; Additional reporting by Jackie Potts in Oaxaca City, Richard Cowan in Washington and Lisbeth Diaz in Tijuana, and Nate Raymond in Boston; Editing by Stephen Coates and Bradley Perrett

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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