WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Supreme Court temporarily blocks a ruling that would lift pandemic-era restrictions on asylum seekers, but the brief ruling leaves open the prospect that restrictions in place since the start of the coronavirus pandemic have been used to turn back hundreds of thousands of potential asylum seekers could expire on Wednesday .

The court’s decision comes as officials and aid groups along the border scramble to prepare for any changes that may or may not happen Wednesday.

In the city of El Paso, Mayor Oscar Leeser said they had received information from the Border Patrol and shelters on the other side of the border in Mexico indicating that up to 20,000 migrants could be waiting to cross into El Paso. The Red Cross brought in 10,000 cots to help with the increase, he said.

Monday’s order from Chief Justice John Roberts, who hears emergency cases coming from federal courts in the nation’s capital, comes as conservative states push to maintain restrictions on asylum seekers that were put in place to stop the spread of COVID. -19. The states appealed to the US Supreme Court in a last-ditch effort before the restrictions expire on Wednesday, saying lifting the restrictions on asylum seekers would cause irreparable harm to their states.

In a one-page order, Roberts granted a stay pending further orders and asked the government to respond by 5 p.m. Tuesday. That’s just hours before the restrictions end on Wednesday.

Roberts’ order means the high-profile case, which has drawn scrutiny at a time when Republicans are poised to take control of the House of Representatives and make immigration a key issue, will go to trial.

The immigration restrictions, often referred to as Section 42, were enacted under then-President Donald Trump in March 2020 and have prevented hundreds of thousands of migrants from seeking asylum in the US in recent years. But as the deadline expires, thousands of migrants are sheltering at the Mexico-US border

Conservative-leaning states argue that repealing Section 42 would lead to a surge of migrants into their states and affect public services such as health care or law enforcement. They also say the federal government has no plans to deal with the growing number of migrants.

“Review by this court is warranted given the tremendous national importance of this case. It is unreasonable to dispute that failure to grant a suspension would result in an unprecedented disaster at the southern border,” the states wrote in their request on Monday.

Immigration advocates have said the use of Title 42 runs counter to American and international obligations to people who flee to the United States to avoid persecution. And they argued that things like vaccines and treatments for the coronavirus made the policy obsolete. They sued to stop the use of Title 42; a federal judge in November sided with them and set a deadline of December 21.

Immigration advocates agreed with Roberts’ order. In a statement, Chris O’Mara Wignarajah, president and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, called the decision “deeply regrettable.”

“The Biden administration must vigorously defend our humanitarian obligations in the face of politically motivated litigation. Section 42 was never based on any reason of public health,” Vinyarajah said in a statement late on Monday. “Section 42 has only fueled repeated attempts to cross the border and filled the pockets of smuggler cartels who prey on vulnerable asylum seekers.”

In a statement late Monday, the Department of Homeland Security, which is responsible for border security, said that because Section 42 is still in effect, people who try to enter the U.S. “illegally” will be deported to Mexico.

“While this phase of the litigation continues, we will continue our preparations to manage the border in a safe, orderly and humane manner following the repeal of the Section 42 health order,” the statement said.

Ahead of the end of Section 42, administration officials said they have committed more resources to the southern border, including more Border Patrol processing coordinators, increased surveillance and increased security at points of entry. About 23,000 agents are currently deployed to the southern border, according to the White House.

Before the Supreme Court weighed in, White House officials stressed Monday that the administration is bound by a court order to roll back the pandemic-era border policy, despite calls from Republicans and some Democrats in Congress to extend it.

“The removal of Title 42 does not mean that the border is open,” said White House press secretary Karin Jean-Pierre.

Jean-Pierre said the administration has “additional robust planning underway” and pushed Congress to approve $3.5 billion in additional funding for DHS as lawmakers continue to haggle over the details of a big year-end spending bill.

That money for DHS would expand transportation options so migrants can either be moved to less crowded border facilities or quickly removed if they have no legitimate reason to stay. It will also fund more detention facilities, which will help speed up processing of asylum applications and hire 300 additional Border Patrol agents.

In border communities, officials and aid groups are also bracing for an end to Title 42, and doing so at a time when temperatures are expected to drop as the Arctic blast moves south.

Hidalgo County’s top elected official, Judge Richard Cortez, said Texas Border Patrol agents at the McAllen Border Patrol are meeting with city and county officials, including in Mexico, to prepare for an influx of migrants crossing the border once the Title 42 policy expires. . He is concerned about where the migrants will be able to sleep or get a warm meal and to make sure the bridge connecting the US and Mexico remains open for commercial traffic.

“If they’re overcrowded at the points of entry, they’re just going to let them go … and so where are they going to sleep at night, where are they going to eat? It just puts us in an unknown situation. What are we preparing for?” he said. “We will do everything we can. For me, I don’t know why Congress hasn’t sat down and tried to make things better.”


Associated Press reporters Seung Min Kim in Washington and Sean Murphy in Oklahoma City contributed to this report.

SEE PREVIOUS REPORT: US appeals court refuses to uphold pandemic-related restrictions on immigrant asylum seekers

Copyright © 2022, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Source link

Previous articleJames Cameron’s old comments prompt Indians to boycott new ‘Avatar’ sequel – Trentonian
Next articlePro wrestling legend Jim Duggan says he held home intruder at gunpoint, thanks police for responding