Nineteen GOP-led states have asked a federal appeals court to rule on their request to suspend the termination of a Trump-era border policy by Friday, according to a court filing.
It’s the latest twist in ongoing litigation over a public health authority, known as Title 42, that was invoked under former President Donald Trump and allows officials to expel migrants encountered at the US-Mexico border.
Last month, a federal judge blocked the use of the authority, but put a hold on the order for five weeks. That hold is set to run out next Wednesday, prompting urgency by Republican states intervening in the case.
“The States will suffer irreparable harm absent a stay from the termination of Title 42 for the reasons discussed in the motion,” the states argue in the filing, citing a separate ruling that blocked the end of Title 42 earlier this year.
All parties in the case are asking for a ruling by December 16, the filing says. If the federal appeals court denies the request, the states ask the court to issue a seven-day administrative stay so that they can go to the Supreme Court for relief.
The appeals court has asked for both the challengers to the Title 42 rule and the Biden administration to file responses to the states’ request later this week.
Administration officials have been preparing for a surge of migrants when Trump-era Covid restrictions are lifted. Since March 2020, when the authority was invoked, border officials have turned away migrants at the US-Mexico border more than 2 million times.
Hundreds of migrants have been staying across the border in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, raising concern among officials that many would try to cross when a Trump-era border policy ends in late December.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is visiting El Paso, Texas, on Tuesday where he’ll “meet with the (Customs and Border Protection) workforce, review operations, and meet with local officials and organizations,” DHS said.
More than 2,400 migrants crossed into the United States near El Paso daily over the weekend, according to a senior Border Patrol official, marking what he described as a “major surge in illegal crossings” in the region.
“Over the weekend, the El Paso Sector experienced a major surge in illegal crossings, with a 3-day average of 2,460 daily encounters, primarily through the downtown area of El Paso. We will continue to keep the public informed as the situation evolves,” said acting Chief Patrol Agent Peter Jaquez of the El Paso Sector in a tweet.
The Biden administration is asking Congress for more than $3 billion as it prepares for the end of the Trump-era border policy later this month, according to a source familiar with the ask. The ask is intended to shore up resources for border management and technology and is part of broader funding discussions. It is not specific to the end of Title 42, the source said.