(The Center Square) – Republicans are now looking to the U.S. Supreme Court to help alleviate the crisis at the southern border.
The high court intervened Monday to temporarily halt the expiration of a Trump-era border policy that has been one of the few measures slowing the explosion of illegal immigration at the southern border.
The policy in question, Title 42, was enacted by the Trump administration to help border officials expedite the expulsion of illegal immigrants to help stop the spread of COVID-19 into the U.S. That policy was set to expire Wednesday before the Supreme Court intervened after a coalition of states submitted a legal challenge.
Border officials and others have been warning for months that an end to Title 42 would lead to a surge at the southern border that could overwhelm already beleaguered border towns. Border officials have told The Center Square that thousands of people have been camping at the border in anticipation of its ending.
“New York City expects to receive at least 1,000 illegal aliens per week if Title 42 ends,” said Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio. “How many will come to your town?”
Republicans lauded the high court’s decision, which puts the nine justices once again in charge of deciding on one of the nation’s most divisive and gridlocked issues.
“Glad to see the Supreme Court inject some temporary sanity into the situation,” said Republican Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. “The Biden administration has no plan to deal with this onslaught other than to throw more money at it. That is not a plan. It is a national embarrassment.”
Since President Joe Biden took office, illegal immigration has surged. This is in part because Biden has bypassed Congress to weaken enforcement and change Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) policies to lower deportations significantly.
“At this point, they might as well change the name of U.S. Customs and Border Protection to U.S. Customs and Border Processing,” the Federation for American Immigration Reform said in a statement. “Seriously, all the Biden administration wants CBP to do is process migrants or watch them come across with a drone or camera.”
Governors of border states have also raised the alarm. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sent President Joe Biden a letter Tuesday bemoaning Title 42 again and asking for help as a polar vortex heads for the U.S.
“With thousands of men, women, and children illegally crossing into Texas every day, and with the expectation that those numbers will only increase if Title 42 expulsions end, the state is overburdened as we respond to this disaster caused by you and your administration,” the letter said. “Your policies will leave many people in the bitter, dangerous cold as a polar vortex moves into Texas. This terrible crisis for border communities in Texas is a catastrophe of your own making. These communities and the state are ill-equipped to do the job assigned to the federal government – house the thousands of migrants flooding into the country every day. With perilous temperatures moving into the area, many of these migrants are at risk of freezing to death on city streets. Texas has borne a lopsided burden caused by your open border policies.”
Critics of Title 42 point to the humanitarian need of immigrants. The White House has remained adamant about ending the policy.
“But I want to be very clear here: The fact is that the removal of Title 42 does not mean the border is open,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at a press briefing Monday. “Anyone who suggests otherwise is simply doing the work of these smugglers who, again, are spreading misinformation, and which are — which is very dangerous.”
Supporters of Title 42 point to places like El Paso, where the mayor has declared a state of emergency because of the overwhelming number of migrants.
For now, though, both sides await a ruling from the Supreme Court.
“Title 42 is a release valve (literally and metaphorically) that provides agents a quick process to send at least some illegal migrants back,” said Andrew Arthur, an immigration expert at the Center for Immigration Studies. “When it’s gone, the true effects of Biden’s border fiasco will be felt, first at the border and soon thereafter in towns and cities across the United States.”