The federal government has requested a delay in the repeal of Title 42 to provide more time to implement policies under a former immigration law.
Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas filed the request to U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Roberts on Tuesday in response to Roberts’ grant for a temporary stay to Title 42 ordered the day before. The COVID-era border policy, which was originally set to end on Wednesday, allows authorities to expel migrants over COVID-19 pandemic concerns.
In its request, the administration of President Joe Biden asked the high court for Roberts’ stay on the policy to remain intact until December 27 if it’s repealed before Friday. If a decision on the bill comes after that date, the federal government asks that Title 42 remain in place for two business days after the order.
The request says that the “brief continuation” of the policy “would allow the government to again prepare for a full return to operations under Title 8,” which includes the previous migrant processing procedures that have been followed since Title 8’s passing in 1940.
Republicans across all levels of government have fought to keep the COVID-era policy in place, however, including the 19 GOP-led states who appealed for Roberts to order the temporary stay.
On Tuesday, Republican leaders expressed doubt over why the Biden administration would request a delay in repealing the policy—with some suggesting it was a sign that the federal government is scrambling to come up with a new policy to take Title 42’s place.
“Biden Administration feels strongly both ways on title 42,” Texas Senator John Cornyn tweeted Tuesday evening. “Where is secret plan once it expires? Or is secret that they have no plan?”
You can’t make this up. Biden Administration feels strongly both ways on title 42. Where is secret plan once it expires? Or is secret that they have no plan? https://t.co/8tp2j1H85J
— Senator John Cornyn (@JohnCornyn) December 21, 2022
“The corrupt Biden administration asks SCOTUS to get rid of Title 42 border protections–AFTER December 27th, so they can push the crisis into next year & blame House Republicans,” wrote New Mexico Representative Yvette Herrell. “Biden knows he’s creating a disaster, he’s just fiddling with the timing.”
The corrupt Biden administration asks SCOTUS to get rid of Title 42 border protections–AFTER December 27th, so they can push the crisis into next year & blame House Republicans.
Biden knows he’s creating a disaster, he’s just fiddling with the timing. https://t.co/rmZEkjYhPb
— Rep. Yvette Herrell (@RepHerrell) December 20, 2022
Other Republicans reiterated a plea to keep Title 42 in place in order to address the surging number of migrants attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in recent days. Arizona Representative Debbie Lesko reposted a video of an overcrowded border patrol center in El Paso, Texas, Tuesday evening, adding that the “crisis at the southern border is a national security and humanitarian crisis.”
“Our Border Patrol agents need every single tool available, including Title 42, to put an end to this crisis,” she wrote.
The crisis at the southern border is a national security and humanitarian crisis. Our Border Patrol agents need every single tool available, including Title 42, to put an end to this crisis. https://t.co/QApgQt33WF
— Congresswoman Debbie Lesko (@RepDLesko) December 21, 2022
Former National Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott, who served under former President Donald Trump and Biden, also echoed Republicans’ concerns Tuesday night in an interview with KUSI News.
“This wouldn’t even be a discussion today if the Biden Administration hadn’t torn down every other effective policy which resulted in the complete and total chaos at the border,” Scott told the outlet.
Former National Border Patrol Chief, Rodney Scott, explains that Title 42 is the country’s last stance against the thousands of immigrants waiting at the borders.
The Biden admin. stripped the nation of every other border protection.
More info: https://t.co/jTkethAkyZ pic.twitter.com/VXqB7y6d5v
— KUSI News (@KUSINews) December 21, 2022
The federal government acknowledged in its request Tuesday that “the end of the Title 42 orders likely will likely lead to a temporary increase in border crossings,” but added that it was “prepared to address that serious problem under its Title 8 authorities, including by adopting new policies to respond to the temporary disruption that will occur.”
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, part of the GOP coalition that filed the appeal to Roberts, said that the acknowledgement from the Biden administration was an “Understatement, but true.”
“We’ll see what SCOTUS does next,” he tweeted Tuesday.
Newsweek has reached out to the Department of Homeland Security for comment.
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