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Supreme Court pushes back arguments in Title 42 dispute to March 1

FILE – This June 30, 2014 file photo shows the Supreme Court in Washington. Supreme Court justices found more common ground than usual this year, and nowhere was their unanimity more surprising than in ruling that police must get a judge’s approval before searching cellphones of people they’ve arrested. But the conservative-liberal divide was still evident in other cases, including this week’s ruling on religion, birth control and the health care law. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File) Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo

Supreme Court pushes back arguments in Title 42 dispute to March 1

Kaelan Deese

January 06, 05:13 PM January 06, 05:15 PM

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The Supreme Court has decided to hear a case regarding the Title 42 immigration policy on March 1 after it previously slated arguments for sometime in February.

The high court temporarily halted the termination of Title 42 on Dec. 27, allowing the Trump-era policy that permitted the swift expulsion of immigrants under a COVID-19 health policy to remain in place until justices decide on a challenge brought by Republican-led states.

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Oral arguments were initially intended to begin in February though an exact date was never established until Friday.

The high court’s involvement stems from 19 GOP-led states that filed an emergency request to keep the policy in place after U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan sided with immigration advocates last month who argued the policy is no longer necessary, setting its termination date for Dec. 21.

Chief Justice John Roberts initially put a temporary hold on the policy’s termination in response to the states’ suit, asking the Biden administration to submit its response in the matter.

Through a 5-4 ruling on Dec. 27, five Republican-appointed justices agreed to hear the challenge in the first quarter of 2023.

Since then, President Joe Biden announced on Jan. 5 a new legal pathway for immigrants attempting to reach the U.S. from Cuba, Haiti, and Nicaragua, while ramping up enforcement measures along the southern border.

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The measures extend an asylum process that admits Venezuelan nationals with a U.S. sponsor into the country to immigrants from Cuba, Haiti, and Nicaragua, admitting up to 30,000 immigrants from these countries each month, a senior administration official told reporters Thursday.

Any Cuban, Haitian, and Nicaraguan nationals attempting to reach the U.S. border illegally are subject to rapid expulsion. Through a new agreement with Mexico, up to 30,000 immigrants expelled from the U.S. each month can be sent south of the U.S. border and will become ineligible for asylum under the new rules.

The arguments in March will see the justices focus on whether GOP-led states have the basis to intervene in the policy’s termination. The states contend that the influx of immigrants on the southern border would sustain irreparable harm if Title 42 ends without a separate system to replace the deterring measures of the pandemic-era policy.

First enacted in March 2020 as a means to reject immigrants quickly due to the pandemic, Title 42 has deterred nearly 2.5 million immigrants amid a historic influx of border crossings under the Biden administration.

Officials with the Biden administration said that once the authority for Title 42 ends, the administration will rely on Title 8, which expels immigrants who don’t have a legal basis for asylum.

Biden, who plans to visit the Mexican border Sunday for the first time in his presidency, pushed back on Republican criticism of his administration’s handling of the southern border, saying such detractors are not “serious.”

“Do not just show up at the border,” Biden said to immigrants from Cuba, Nicaragua, Haiti, and Venezuela in remarks at the White House Thursday announcing the new strategy.

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