President Joe Biden’s decision to lift the COVID-19 public health emergency on May 11 could end Title 42, the border policy contested in the nation’s highest court. The end of the emergency will also halt access to free diagnostics and treatment.
Title 42 would be repealed by the Biden administration on May 11 if the courts permit it. Therefore, the policy could be scrapped before the Supreme Court rules on a lawsuit by states with a Republican-led government to defend its continuation.
Since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention first used the measure in March 2020, border agents have used it more than 2.3 million times to prevent migrants from illegally entering the United States. Policymakers from both parties and Department of Homeland Security officials have said that when the policy is lifted, there will be a big jump in the number of migrants trying to cross the border, on top of the record-high number of border encounters in 2022.
Republican states filed a lawsuit when the Biden administration attempted to lift Title 42 through a similar CDC directive. However, the policy will now be discontinued by allowing the public health emergency declaration to expire on May 11.
Legal experts note that the Republican states may file another lawsuit, claiming that this second method of lifting Title 42 also violates their rights. However, oral arguments in the first lawsuit before the Supreme Court are still scheduled for March 1. They may influence whether states attempt to stop the administration’s most recent effort to repeal the policy.
House Republicans decided Tuesday night to end the COVID public health emergency now rather than on May 11, but the bill is unlikely to pass the Senate. If it were to pass, the Biden administration could terminate Title 42 even sooner.