The pandemic border restrictions known as Title 42 will continue, at least for now, after the U.S. Supreme court granted an 11th-hour request by Republican attorneys general from 19 states seeking to extend the restrictions. In an order signed by Chief Justice John Roberts, the court asked for a response from the Biden administration by late Tuesday, NPR reports. The GOP attorneys general argued that lifting the restrictions would likely cause a surge of illegal immigration at the southern border. The restrictions — first put in place by the Trump administration in March 2020 — had been set to lift Wednesday at midnight. The delay is another setback for immigrant advocates, who have long argued that Title 42 was intended to block access to asylum protections under the pretense of protecting public health during the worst parts of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, the border city of El Paso has seen thousands of migrants arrive in recent days. El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser says shelters in Juarez, Mexico are full and believes that 20,000 migrants there are waiting to cross into El Paso. Despite the stay, the city is moving forward with emergency planning, including standing up an operations center. Federal and local officials had been bracing for an influx of migrants who've been waiting in border communities from Reynosa, Mexico to Tijuana, Mexico. The Biden administration has reportedly been considering major new restrictions to asylum access, although officials insist no final decisions have been made. When the Title 42 restrictions began more than two years ago under former President Trump, immigration authorities used the policy to expel nearly all migrants they encountered without giving them a chance to ask for asylum protection or other protections under U.S. law.