Supreme Court temporarily halts expiration of Title 42 border policy

Border Report

(NewsNation) — With Title 42 set to end this week, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts has issued an administrative stay, which temporarily pauses the expiration of the controversial border restriction policy. A response by the Biden administration to the temporary hold must be filed by Tuesday.

Border towns across Texas have been preparing for a potential increase of migrants with the potential end of Title 42.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who has said he believes the crisis at the southern border will get worse after Title 42 ends, says he is ramping up border strategies ahead of the initial policy expiration on Wednesday.

Approximately 400 soldiers from the Texas National Guard were deployed to El Paso in anticipation of the policy’s expiration. They will focus on deterring illegal crossings from Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico.

Several state agencies, law enforcement alongside border patrol, and humanitarian organizations are working together to help these border communities, particularly in El Paso, where Mayor Oscar Lesser declared a state of emergency on Saturday.

Data from the city shows there are more than 3,000 migrants in border patrol custody.

Officials say by Wednesday they could see up to 6,000 migrants crossing per day just in El Paso, and hundreds are released to the streets each day because there isn’t enough capacity to process and house them.

Other border towns, like Eagle Pass and Laredo, are facing the same crisis.

On top of it all, it is supposed to be extremely cold in Texas this week, with below-zero windchill in some parts of the state by Friday, forecasters said.

While officials expect an influx of migrants when the policy ends, NewsNation partner Border Report reported a lull in crossings ahead of Wednesday, with a news crew witnessing only a small group crossing near El Paso.

Across the Rio Grande in Reynosa, Mexico, priests celebrating mass told church-goers they would be able to cross once the restrictions eased. Faith leaders told Border Report their shelters were packed and more people were waiting on the streets in hopes of crossing.

In McAllen, Texas, Catholic charities and other humanitarian groups were preparing to help out, but officials told Border Report resources are already strained and there is a fear they won’t be able to support the increase in migrants.

Title 42, first implemented under the Trump administration in the spring of 2020, allowed border officials to turn away migrants seeking asylum claims under a public health emergency during the pandemic.

After months of legal challenges, a federal judge ruled last month the policy no longer made sense when vaccines were available and other pandemic restrictions were lifted. He gave the Biden administration five weeks to phase out Title 42 — a period that was initially set to expire on Wednesday. On Monday, the Supreme Court issued a stay on the expiration.

Though Democrats have been critical of Title 42, it was used at an even higher rate under the Biden administration and has turned away migrants about 2.5 million times at the border since 2020.

The policy has helped turn away migrants from countries experiencing worsening conditions like Haiti, making it nearly impossible for them to make asylum claims.

“If the courts are not going to intervene and put a halt to the removal of Title 42,” Abbott said, “It’s going to be total chaos.”

The Biden administration says it is preparing and will make sure this is dealt with humanely. They’re also calling on Congress to pass immigration reform but have no immediate solution to the crisis at the border.

A federal appeals court declined to delay Title 42’s end last week, but the Supreme Court stepped in by issuing a stay on the expiration.

Texas has already spent about $4 billion trying to deal with the issue at the border through Abbott’s “Operation Lone Star” program.

Last week, Abbott called for the Texas attorney general to investigate immigration NGOs after he said there were reports they may have helped with illegal border crossings.

NewsNation reached out to Abbott’s office for more clarification but has not yet heard back.  

So far, Abbott’s office has bussed more than 14,000 migrants to Washington, D.C., Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York City.

New York Mayor Eric Adams released a statement in advance of Title 42’s end, saying the city’s shelters are full and there needs to be a better plan.

“I refuse to be forced to choose new arrivals over current new yorkers. I’ll say it again — we need a plan, we need assistance, and we need it now.”

Eric adams, nEW YORK CITY MAYOR

Meanwhile, the city of Denver also issued an emergency declaration earlier this month after hundreds of undocumented migrants came to the mile-high city unexpectedly. The city’s mayor said it’s pushing the city and its resources to a breaking point.

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