News“It breaks my heart that we have to keep...

“It breaks my heart that we have to keep waiting”: US Supreme Court upholds Trump-era border policy that allows migrants to be expelled

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The US Supreme Court voted to uphold a controversial Trump-era policy – known as Title 42 – that allows automatic removal of undocumented immigrants seeking to enter the country.

It is estimated that more than 1.7 million people have been expelled under this measure, first implemented when Donald Trump was president and extended twice by Joe Biden, and whose initial justification was to control the spread of covid-19.

The possible lifting of this policy had raised concerns that the number of migrants at the border would increase rapidly.

The Biden administration said it would comply with the ruling, but called for immigration policy reform.

“We are advancing our preparations to manage the border in a safe, orderly, and humane manner when Title 42 is finally lifted, and we will continue to expand legal avenues for immigration,” the White House said in a statement.

Bill Cassidy, a Republican senator from Louisiana, said that eliminating Title 42 “would have made our border crisis worse, and the White House seemed willing to let that happen.”

“Glad to see the Supreme Court step in to preserve it, but we need a permanent solution,” he said on Twitter.

Long term solution

Miguel Colmenares, a Venezuelan migrant in the Mexican border city of Tijuana, said: “It breaks my heart that we have to keep waiting.”

“I don’t know what I’m going to do, I don’t have money and my family is waiting for me,” the 27-year-old explained to the Reuters news agency.

Title 42’s policy was originally supposed to expire on December 21, but two days before the deadline, Chief Justice John Roberts blocked its repeal.

The court’s decision came in response to an emergency appeal from some Republican-led states that had asked that the policy be upheld.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to extend the temporary stay ordered by Justice Roberts.

In addition, the nine Supreme Court justices will hear oral arguments on whether states can intervene in defense of the policy.

This hearing is likely to take place in February or March 2023.

The decision is scheduled for the end of June.

Obligation to give asylum

The decision deals a blow to the activists, who had called for the end of Title 42, arguing that it was contrary to international obligations to grant people asylum.

However, Title 42 advocates and authorities in many border cities argued that lifting the policy would lead to an increase in arrivals at the border, putting pressure on resources.

In court documents filed last week, Attorney General Elizabeth Prelogar said the government recognized that the end of Title 42 would likely “lead to a crisis and a temporary increase in illegal border crossings.”

“The government in no way seeks to minimize the severity of this problem,” he added.

“But the solution cannot be to indefinitely extend a public health measure that everyone now recognizes goes beyond the objective it had when it was approved.”

Overwhelmed

At the border, local governments and humanitarian organizations have warned that they are already overburdened and ill-prepared for a further influx of asylum seekers.

In the Texan city of El Paso, for example, authorities last week declared a state of emergency and set up a 1,000-bed makeshift shelter in the city’s convention center as part of a broader plan to deal with the growing number of asylum seekers on the streets of the city.

Speaking to the BBC last week, city officials expressed concern that they are helpless in managing a significant increase in the number of people in need of food, shelter and help organizing transport to the United States.

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