The US Supreme Court maintains the lock on immigration

Immigration management is perhaps the greatest political failure of the United States governments, as well as the great paradigm of their hypocrisy in the face of a complex problem that is barely being patched up.

Thomas Osborne
Thomas Osborne
29 December 2022 Thursday 06:31
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The US Supreme Court maintains the lock on immigration

Immigration management is perhaps the greatest political failure of the United States governments, as well as the great paradigm of their hypocrisy in the face of a complex problem that is barely being patched up. And it is patching up to meet its needs for cheap labor but without seriously addressing the human challenge that the challenge entails. And now the nation's Supreme Court is making matters worse, not for political leaders but for immigrants, by prolonging the closure of the Mexican border through an indefinite extension of Title 42: the rule that Donald Trump imposed in March of 2020 as a result of the pandemic, and under the pretext of avoiding contagion through this route, to prohibit entries and legalize the hot returns of those who crossed the Rio Grande and passed the fence.

A judge and an appeals court had agreed with the Joe Biden government that Trump's order should be annulled as it had lost its raison d'etre. That was going to happen on December 21. Faced with such a forecast, tens of thousands of desperate people from all over Latin America concentrated for weeks in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, to cross into the US through El Paso, Texas. But two days before the date of the expected expiration of the precept, the conservative president of the Supreme Court, John Roberts, suspended his annulment and opened a parenthesis to study the matter. He did so at the behest of 19 red states that had challenged the termination of Title 42 on the grounds that removing the restrictions would overflow the border and cause "a disaster."

On Tuesday night, the plenary session of the Supreme Court provisionally agreed with those states and decided that Title 42 would remain in force while they resolve the merits of the issue, which can take them six months. From the outset, the magistrates will hear the parties, including the Democratic government, in February or March.

Tuesday's resolution represents a blow to those affected. “This is bad, very bad,” said a Venezuelan woman who arrived in Juárez after months of painful journey through Central America and through Mexico when she heard the news. Like so many of her compatriots, she and her family had lost everything in the crisis in her country.

"They have deceived us," said a boy from the same origin at the door of one of the shelters set up for the hundreds of people who had already crossed the Rio Grande and are now in a legal limbo, sleeping in the cold and no longer the hand of humanitarian organizations, while they await the processing of an asylum application: a process that is now denied to them or entrusted to them for a long, very long time, in application of the famous Title 42.

In addition to the hundreds of migrants who have arrived in El Paso, thousands are waiting for their opportunity in Juárez, under no better conditions. Many ruled out yesterday turning back "after everything we've been through"; that is, to cross the jungle or the desert, and submit to the extortion of the traffickers or the threats of the bands; in some cases after losing part of their loved ones along the way or being a victim of rape, assault, robbery...

It is a humanitarian crisis that is escalating as Republicans and Democrats go head-to-head in the blame game without taking substantial steps to find solutions; and while ultras governors like those of Texas, Greg Abbott, or Florida, Ron DeSantis, charter buses to send hundreds of immigrants to supposedly friendlier territories like New York or Washington, including outside the residence of Vice President Kamala Harris . A pimpampún with human beings that does not embarrass them but quite the opposite, since they ostentatiously practice it to win votes.

Biden is not a saint in this matter. He and his government allowed Title 42 to remain in force long after having raised the covid barrier on the rest of the borders, in September 2021. And thus, of the 2.7 million expulsions decreed in application of the article -according to figures International Rescue Committee–, most were practiced under the administration of the Democrat.

The president did stop the expulsion of unaccompanied children that governed their arrival at the White House, but otherwise let Trump's order continue to operate until, in April of this year, the health authority announced its lifting.

When on the 19th the Supreme Court momentarily paralyzed the annulment of the entry ban due to the covid, Biden insisted that the rule should be suppressed because the pandemic is over. But at the same time, he requested a few days for the border services to prepare to establish a new mechanism for quick returns of migrants to the last country of origin in strict application of Title 8, which is the one that normally serves to articulate the expulsion of those to those who do not recognize the right of asylum.

Biden has unsuccessfully tried to reach an agreement with the Republicans, in Congress, on immigration legislation and policies that would initially relieve the 1,565,966 asylum claims accumulated in courts and immigration services. He has also established agreements with Mexico to better manage arrivals.

And the opposition, the judges and the bureaucracy do not make it easy for the president. But neither has he kept promises of improvement that he could have resolved by executive order, according to a study of his immigration policy highlighted by the professor and expert on the subject at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mónica Verea.

The Supreme Court, with a clear conservative majority of six to three, adopted its resolution the night before last by five votes in favor and four against. It happened because right-wing Justice Neil Gorsuch joined the three progressives on the court in a strong dissent against the decision of his usual campmates. He argued that "the current border crisis is not a covid crisis." He added that “courts should not lend themselves to perpetuating administrative edicts designed for an (health) emergency, just because elected officials have not crafted a rule for a different (immigration) emergency,” Gorsuch wrote. And he concluded: "We are a court of law, not legislators of last resort."

The truth is that the US Supreme Court, shaped in its day by Trump through the appointment of three very right-wing magistrates, continues to conduct politics against the Biden government. And now immigrants pay.