WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court has removed from its oral argument calendar a case involving Title 42, the controversial Trump-era immigration policy used to quickly expel asylum-seekers at the border.
The justices were scheduled to hear arguments in the case on March 1. The court gave no immediate explanation. The Justice Department said this month the case would soon be moot because the public health emergency the policy was based upon is scheduled to end May 11.
In December, the high court voted 5-4 to grant an emergency request by 19 Republican state attorneys general who mounted a last-ditch effort in defense of the policy. The decision halted a ruling by Washington-based U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan, who said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s implementation of the policy was “arbitrary and capricious” and should be lifted. What happens to the December ruling, with the case no longer on the calendar but technically still pending, is unclear.
Officials in several border states said they were concerned the end of the policy would mean an additional surge of people seeking to enter the U.S. when border crossings are already high. Without the policy, people seeking asylum would be able to enter the U.S., where they could be waiting for years for court dates if they pass their initial interviews with authorities.
The measure — which went into place during the Covid-19 pandemic — is opposed by immigrant rights groups, who say it is inhumane.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement in December that the administration would comply with the Supreme Court’s order while “advancing our preparations to manage the border in a secure, orderly, and humane way when Title 42 eventually lifts and will continue expanding legal pathways for immigration.”
“Title 42 is a public health measure, not an immigration enforcement measure, and it should not be extended indefinitely,” she added.