The Biden administration is begging the Supreme Court to hold off for a few days on ending the Title 42 border policy, as officials scramble to prepare for an unprecedented surge in illegal immigration once the restriction is lifted.
The White House asked the court to allow the “obsolete” policy to expire, but they requested that it be lifted after Christmas, the New York Post reported.
Biden’s Title 42 request
Critics have said the policy, used to rapidly expel over 2 million immigrants without a chance to claim asylum since its enactment by President Trump at the height of the COVID pandemic, is cruel and lacks a firm basis in public health.
Title 42 was expected to end Wednesday, but the Supreme Court intervened, satisfying a request for an emergency injunction from Republican states amid dire predictions of a human tsunami at the border, where already overwhelmed cities like El Paso, Texas have declared an emergency.
The city’s mayor has warned that as many as 20,000 immigrants are waiting for the green light to start pouring across the border.
But in a filing Tuesday, the Biden administration called Title 42 “obsolete” while acknowledging that “disruption” and a “temporary” surge in illegal immigration are likely to follow its expiration.
“Rather than returning to the immigration system prescribed by Congress, applicants ask this Court to compel the government to continue relying on now-obsolete public-health orders as the Nation’s de facto immigration policy,” the administration wrote.
Delay, delay, delay
At the same time, the administration asked for a delay, citing the logistical challenges in preparing for a post-Title 42 scenario.
The Supreme Court should allow Title 42 to stand until December 27 if they reject Republicans’ challenge before Friday, or else wait two business days after making a decision, the White House said.
“That brief continuation of the stay would allow the government to again prepare for a full return to operations,” the administration’s brief said.
Preparing for disaster
Biden has angered immigration advocates on the left by flip-flopping on Title 42, which he initially kept as a conspicuous remnant of President Trump’s strict immigration regime before reversing course.
While moving to end the policy, the White House has often appeared to welcome opportunities to delay doing so, a tacit acknowledgment that the border is not as “secure” as officials say it is. The administration had previously asked the federal judge who struck Title 42 down for a five-week delay.
Officials have said they have plans in place to keep the system from being overrun.
Those plans include, ironically, reviving the Trump administration’s “transit ban,” which disqualified asylum applicants who fail to first seek refuge in another country other than the United States.