On December 16, a federal appeals court rejected a bid by several Republican-led states that attempted to keep in place Title 42 (a Trump-era border policy). The DC district court recently struck down the controversial Trump administration policy. The new ruling from the DC Circuit US Court of Appeals sets the stage for the case to go to the Supreme Court. On Wednesday, Dec. 20, the Biden administration is set to stop enforcing Title 42–which allows for the expulsion of migrants at the US-Mexico border. Title 42 is a provision of the US Code that allows the US government to take certain actions to prevent the spread of communicable diseases. The provision was invoked by the Trump administration in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to justify a number of measures, including the suspension of certain immigration programs and the expulsion of non-citizens who were present in the United States without proper documentation.
The US territories were affected by Title 42 in a number of ways. For example, the provision was used to justify the closure of the US-Mexico border, which had a significant impact on the economy of the territories located near the border, such as Puerto Rico. The provision was also used to justify the suspension of certain immigration programs, which affected the territories that rely on migrant labor, such as Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.
However, the December 21 deadline for lifting Title 42 still stands after the federal court rejected the bid made by certain states to keep the provision in action. This means that the US border expects to see a significant increase in migrant arrivals, and previous economic roadblocks that impacted the US territories will be lifted.
Overall, the effects of Title 42 on the U.S. territories have been significant. As the United States goes into the new year, the country will wait to see the impacts of repealing the provision.