Chief Justice John Roberts of the Supreme Court temporarily halted the expiration of Title 42 late Monday, Dec. 19. The contentious immigration and health protocol initiated under President Donald Trump was set to expire on Dec. 21, but this new order could extend the stay until the lawsuit brought by 19 states is heard and ruled upon by the full Supreme Court.
The states behind the appeal contended that Supreme Court’s failure to intervene would “cause a crisis of unprecedented proportions at the border.”
“Getting rid of Title 42 will recklessly and needlessly endanger more Americans and migrants by exacerbating the catastrophe that is occurring at our southern border,” Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said in a statement. “Unlawful crossings are estimated to surge from 7,000 per day to as many as 18,000.”
The Department of Homeland Security agreed to comply with Roberts’ order but issued a statement insisting that preparations for dealing with the expected influx were well underway:
“As required by the Supreme Court’s administrative stay order, the Title 42 public health order will remain in effect at this time and individuals who attempt to enter the United States unlawfully will continue to be expelled to Mexico… While this stage of the litigation proceeds, we will continue our preparations to manage the border in a safe, orderly, and humane way when the Title 42 public health order lifts.”
The Biden administration contends that illegal immigration will continue to be managed. And yet, rather than acknowledge an issue at the border, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre responded by making political hay.
Duck, Dive, and Dodge
When asked about the reported 50,000 migrants waiting to enter the US as soon as Title 42 expires, Jean-Pierre shifted to immediate narrative control while taking a thinly veiled swipe at the GOP. She said:
“Look, I don’t have a number for you at this time. What I can say is that smugglers will try to spread misinformation to take advantage of these vulnerable migrants… The fact is the removal of Title 42 does not mean the border is open. Anyone who suggests otherwise is simply doing the work of these smugglers — who again are spreading misinformation which is very dangerous.”
Claiming that those who are trying to bring attention to the border crisis are, in fact, exacerbating it is quite the sell even for this administration. And yet, the Biden-friendly Fourth Estate appears to have swallowed this particular gem.
Another question dutifully dodged was regarding Vice President Kamala Harris’ role as “border czar.” Is there any update from this side of the White House on what she’s doing and what she will continue to do as we’re expecting an influx at the border?” a reporter for a well-known DC paper asked.
Jean-Pierre demurred, saying that President Biden “appreciates the partnership that he has with the vice president. You’re right, that has been her charge to work in a diplomatic way in finding the root causes of migration. I don’t have anything to lay out specifically on what that work looks like. But again, we appreciate her partnership, and I would probably refer you to her office on anything specific on the work that she’s doing.”
In other words: not very much.
Will Title 42 Continue?
Once the administration responds to the appeal from the 19 states – by 5 P.M. today, Dec. 20 – Chief Justice John Roberts has two further options from which to choose: Either he denies the states’ application or puts the question to the full court of nine justices.
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming have all signed on to the case.
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