The Supreme Court kept pandemic-era border controls in place while it considers whether nearly two dozen Republican-led states can join a lawsuit over those restrictions, leaving thousands of asylum-seeking migrants stranded in northern Mexico. By a 5-4 vote, the court upheld a temporary stay that Chief Justice John Roberts imposed on Dec. 19, two days before Title 42 regulations were to end, the Wall Street Journal reports. Border officials had observed an increase in land crossings in the days ahead of the policy’s expected end on Dec. 21, with at least 10,000 additional migrants waiting in Mexican border cities with the expectation that the measure would be lifted.
The Biden administration had sought to end the policy, while the Republican states wanted it to remain in place. The high court set arguments for February or early March. In dissent, Justice Neil Gorsuch, joined by Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, said the court shouldn’t be party to a political dispute about immigration policy that no longer relates to the COVID-19 pandemic. "The current border crisis is not a COVID crisis. And courts should not be in the business of perpetuating administrative edicts designed for one emergency only because elected officials have failed to address a different emergency,” Gorsuch wrote. The White House said while the administration readies its legal arguments, “we are advancing our preparations to manage the border in a secure, orderly, and humane way.” The White House said as a public-health measure, Title 42 couldn’t be extended indefinitely. “To truly fix our broken immigration system, we need Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform measures,” a statement said.