A federal judge could break a standstill in the Senate while also defusing a brutal immigration conflict between Democrats and President Biden with a court ruling Monday, Politico reports. The ruling could give Biden some breathing room, as a federal judge signaled plans to block temporarily the administration’s decision to end pandemic-era border restrictions called Title 42 Without that decision, border politics threaten to split the Democratic Party as well as freeze a $10 billion bipartisan coronavirus aid deal that Republicans insisted should include at least an up-or-down vote on keeping Title 42. The administration’s plan to lift Trump-era immigration curbs instituted during the pandemic, is roiling the Democratic Party as candidates and incumbents alike dash away from Biden’s position. Republicans and some Democrats are beginning to insist on a vote to delay the easing of the immigration limits, even as progressives and some immigration reform advocates stand with the administration’s policy, if not its politics.
Biden will soon ask Congress to deliver more money for Ukraine’s defense against a Russian invasion. That bill, unless Title 42 were preserved by other means like a court order, could be another opportunity for immigration politics to seep into the Senate’s work. Title 42 has been explosive, with relatively few Democrats defending Biden and candidates of all stripes calling for a delay, more details and a plan from the administration. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), who wrote the bipartisan COVID deal with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, said that the courts are the “800-pound gorilla” on these issues: “And they may have something to say on this.” Despite the court ruling, senators in both parties suggested Monday that a floor vote on the policy may be inevitable, even if the vehicle to do so may not be the popular Ukraine aid or the bipartisan COVID package.