On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the contentious Title 42 border policy from the Trump administration must continue for the time being.
In a 5-4 decision, the high court overturned a federal judge's order from last month that the border policy had to be changed, according to a report by The Hill.
The policy was due to expire this week, so 19 Republican state attorneys general filed an emergency plea with the court asking that it be extended.
In opposing the ruling permitting Title 42 to continue in effect, conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch joined all of the liberal justices on the Supreme Court.
Gorsuch said in a dissenting opinion that “the current border crisis is not a COVID crisis.”
“And courts should not be in the business of perpetuating administrative edicts designed for one emergency only because elected officials have failed to address a different emergency,” he wrote. “We are a court of law, not policymakers of last resort.”
In addition, the Supreme Court on Tuesday scheduled the case's oral arguments for February, with a ruling due in June.
Although the White House has not indicated it would do so, the high court's stay does not prevent the Biden administration from ending the policy; it will remain in effect until a decision is made.
In the spring of 2020, the Trump administration first put Title 42 into effect. It enables border officers to reject asylum requests from migrants in cases of public health emergencies.
Immigration groups have harshly criticized the policy, claiming that it is cruel and immoral and that it is no longer necessary given that the United States no longer has mass pandemic limitations.
Republicans and border state officials contend that scrapping the policy will allow a flood of immigrants to enter the country in what is already a record year for migrant encounters at the border.
Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan highlighted that they would reject the request from 19 Republican state attorneys general to maintain the divisive immigration policy of the Trump era even though they did not concur with Gorsuch's dissenting decision.
The states asked the high court to temporarily stop and expedite its review of a lower court decision ordering the Biden administration to repeal Title 42, and the high court agreed in a 5-4 decision on Tuesday.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, border agents have been able to forgo the asylum process and swiftly deport refugees thanks to the rule. There will likely be a spike in immigration at America's southern border after Title 42 expires.