(CNN Spanish) — US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts temporarily stayed on Monday the termination of a controversial Trump-era health care policy with immigration effects, known as Title 42, which was scheduled to end on December 21.
But in a brief order, signaling the court wants to act quickly, Roberts asked the Biden administration to respond by 5 p.m. Tuesday to an emergency appeal filed by several Republican-led states.
Roberts’ brief order means that the policy that allows officials to quickly remove migrants at US borders will remain in effect at least until judges decide the emergency request.
The order does not necessarily reflect the final outcome of the case.
The states had gone to the Supreme Court earlier in the day in an emergency attempt to uphold Trump-era immigration policy that is set to be taken off the books Wednesday.
A federal district court judge struck down the policy last month, calling Title 42 “arbitrary and capricious.” The judge said the program could remain in effect until December 21.
Federal officials and border communities have already beeno Preparing for an expected increase in immigrant arrivals this week, and the issue of immigration continues to ignite both sides of the political divide. The Department of Homeland Security has been implementing a plan for the end of the program that includes increasing resources to the border, targeting smugglers and working with international partners.
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who has assumed leadership of the states, said in a statement Monday that “getting rid of Title 42 will recklessly and needlessly endanger more Americans and immigrants by exacerbating the catastrophe that is unfolding in our southern border,” adding: “Illegal crossings are estimated to increase from 7,000 a day to 18,000.”
Brnovich had told the judges in court documents that they should stay the lower court’s ruling. Alternatively, he said judges should grant an “immediate” temporary injunction to maintain the status quo and also consider whether to bypass the appeals court and agree to hear arguments on the merits.
“If a stay here is not granted, massive and irreparable damage will be inflicted on the states, particularly since the states bear many of the consequences of illegal immigration,” Brnovich argued.
On Friday night, the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the Washington DC Circuit ruled against the states, holding that they waited an “excessive” amount of time before attempting to become involved in the case. That order triggered the emergency request in the high court, which was directed at Roberts, who oversees the Washington, D.C., appeals court that ruled on the case.
Roberts is likely to refer the matter to the full court.