Supreme Court Keeps Trump-Era Border Policy In Place—For Now


The Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed a controversial Covid-era policy aimed at expelling undocumented migrants to stay in place for at least a few more months, ruling in favor of Republican-led states pushing to halt a court decision that would have ended the policy this month, and likely to send thousands of migrants back to their home countries as the decision continues to play out in the courts.

Key Facts

The Supreme Court on Tuesday voted 5-4 to grant an emergency request by 19 Republican state attorneys general, led by Arizona, who last Monday asked the justices to keep in place the almost three-year-old policy known as Title 42 to help prevent a “crisis of unprecedented proportions at the border” upon its expiration.

The decision, backed by all conservative judges except Justice Neil Gorsuch, indefinitely delays a ruling by a federal district court judge who last month struck down Title 42, which is often used to expel undocumented migrants to their home country or to Mexico within hours—calling it an “arbitrary and capricious” rule that violates federal law.

The judge’s ruling was set to take effect last Wednesday but was delayed after Chief Justice John Roberts temporarily put the brakes on lifting the controversial Title 42 border policy following the attorneys general petition.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear oral arguments on Title 42 in February and is expected to rule on the matter by the end of June.

Key Background

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention enacted Title 42 under former president Donald Trump in March 2020 to help mitigate the spread of Covid-19, and the Trump Administration kept the policy in place even after ending most other major Covid restrictions. Critics argued the Trump White House kept Title 42 in place solely to kick out asylum seekers, and President Joe Biden in April announced plans to end the policy. Border authorities, however, have not let up on enforcing Title 42 as they combat a historic surge of migration. The Border Patrol in October reported 2.4 million arrests were made along the border in the past year—setting a new record.

Further Reading

What To Know About Title 42 And What Could Happen To Immigration If It’s Lifted (Forbes)

Supreme Court Stops Biden From Lifting Trump-Era Title 42 Border Policy—For Now (Forbes)