Supreme Court Title 42 votes wrong move on border crisis and immigration
The US Supreme Court was wrong.
Continuing to use Title 42 to quickly deport asylum seekers on health grounds is heartbreaking — and dead wrong.
Among the conservative judges, only Neil Gorsuch had the audacity to see through the ugly immigration policy and say it outright.
“The only plausible reason for the intervention,” Gorsuch wrote in his dissent with fellow judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, is states’ concern for border security.
One does not have to be a legal scholar to come to the same conclusion. The Trump administration invoked Title 42 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic to expel immigrants without due process to stem the spread of the virus.
President Biden tried to end it by starting a legal battle with Republicans who want to continue using Title 42 only for border security — not because of health concerns.
Our border crisis is not a COVID crisis. This is a different emergency.
On Tuesday, the conservative majority of the Supreme Court granted a motion by Republicans in 19 states, including Arizona, to keep Title 42 while legal arguments are made about its future.
“But the current border crisis is not a COVID crisis,” Gorsuch wrote, expressing what everyone knows, although few care about the measures and tools used to keep foreigners out.
The “courts,” Gorsuch continued, “should not be preoccupied with pursuing administrative orders intended only for an emergency because elected officials have failed to deal with another emergency.”
He couldn’t have said it better.
The pandemic crisis is over. The Biden administration has failed miserably to deal with the onslaught of asylum seekers at the US-Mexico border, sparking an extraordinary but different kind of crisis.
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More than 2.4 million migrants have been deported under Title 42 since 2020 — under both Trump and Biden. These are “individuals who come forward to seek humanitarian protection under our laws,” according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
That has stranded tens of thousands of migrants along the Mexican side of the border waiting to apply for asylum, some of whom are no doubt tiring of waiting or fearing for their lives and attempting to cross the border illegally.
Don’t use the court to make immigration laws
No one disputes that the US has the right and responsibility to secure its borders with Mexico and Canada.
But Title 42 specifically denies aliens their legal right to seek refuge. Letting them apply for asylum doesn’t mean they should get it automatically. It just means that – a first step towards a legal process to determine if the person meets the US criteria to be granted asylum.
That’s why keeping title 42 is so wrong.
Gorsuch got it right when he said, “We are a court, not politicians of last resort.”
There’s no denying that Republicans are using the court to pass immigration policy, rather than working with Democrats to do the hard work themselves.
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The Biden administration has failed everyone when it comes to immigration. He promised humane reforms and orderly processes. Instead, Biden has simmered a chaotic border disaster with dire consequences for migrants, asylum seekers, Mexico, border towns and Americans genuinely concerned about the drug trade.
Proponents say they have “documented thousands of kidnappings, assaults and murders in Mexico against people who were deported under Title 42 or who were denied entry.”
Some local refugee aid advocates say they are often overwhelmed, unable to keep up with the sheer numbers of people who are coming to their doors clamoring for humane immigration reform.
Biden – and Republicans – must act
That hasn’t happened in part because Republicans in Congress, the same ones who are blowing up the current border crisis, don’t want to work with the Democrats.
Biden cannot pass immigration reform alone. He needs Congress for that. The House of Representatives approved sensible proposals, only to see them die in a 50-50 Senate because not enough Republicans got on board.
Biden’s problem is not articulating and prioritizing a clear immigration policy. Republicans, on the other hand, have successfully blocked meaningful immigration proposals just to use the border crisis as a political ploy.
In between are throngs of asylum seekers desperate to save themselves and drug addicted Americans receiving a limitless supply of narcotics, killing them in alarming numbers.
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If Republicans really care about border security and fighting drug trafficking, they would work with Democrats to improve asylum procedures, increase work permits to fill American jobs, legalize the law-abiding immigrants already here and the ports of entry to improve – where most drugs are smuggled through the US
The question remains. Why not? Instead, why rely on the courts to legislate immigration policy, as Judge Gorsuch correctly assessed?
We all know the answer. Gorsuch just had the guts to say it.
Elvia Díaz is a contributing editor for The Arizona Republic and azcentral. You can reach her at 602-444-8606 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter, @elviadiaz1.