In a ruling Tuesday, the Supreme Court extended a temporary stay that Chief Justice John Roberts issued last week for Trump-era Title 42.
Under the court’s order, the case will be argued in February, and the stay will be maintained until the justices decide the case, according to the Associated Press.
The limits were put in place under then-President Donald Trump at the beginning of the pandemic.
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Under the restrictions, officials have expelled asylum-seekers inside the United States 2.5 million times and turned away most people who requested asylum at the border on grounds of preventing the spread of COVID-19.
The restrictions are often referred to as Title 42 in reference to a 1944 public health law.
Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan said they’d deny the application, but they did not explain their thinking. Conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch also dissented and explained his thinking in an order joined by liberal Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.
Gorsuch said he does “not discount the States’ concerns” about border security. But Gorsuch noted that Title 42 was put in place to combat Covid-19, and “the current border crisis is not a Covid crisis.”
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“Courts should not be in the business of perpetuating administrative edicts designed for one emergency only because elected officials have failed to address a different emergency,” Gorsuch wrote.
Immigration advocates sued to end the policy, saying it goes against American and international obligations to people fleeing to the U.S. to escape persecution. They’ve also argued that the policy is outdated as coronavirus treatments improve.
“We are deeply disappointed for all the desperate asylum seekers who will continue to suffer because of Title 42, but we will continue fighting to eventually end the policy,” said Lee Gelernt, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union, which had been arguing to end Title 42′s use.