In theory, the Trump-era Title 42 border policy was supposed to end last night. Title 42 (somewhat dubiously) used the pandemic as pretext for ejecting would-be asylum seekers from the U.S. with little or nothing in the way of a hearing. Joe Biden condemned the policy while a candidate for president, but kept it in place for quite a while once he actually became president. Still, after a bunch of preparation, the administration readied to drop Title 42, which would have meant a return to the much more liberal Title 8. Thousands, and perhaps tens of thousands, of asylum-seekers gathered at the border last night, hoping to seize the opportunity they hoped would be available. But then... federal judge T. Kent Wetherell, in response to a lawsuit filed by Florida AG Ashley Moody (R), effectively stayed the change in policy. So, the Trump-era status quo holds, at least for now.
There's no way to know what comes next. Wetherell's order came down at 9:30 p.m. ET, so while the White House undoubtedly huddled for some late-night strategy sessions, it has yet to share anything with the outside world. It's possible that the administration has already appealed to a higher court, but if so, that fact is not known, and certainly no order has been issued. Presumably there will be some news today.
One hopes the administration uses whatever extra time they have in order to, well, do better. The demand for entry into the U.S. has surged, and it's a huge mess of a situation that no president really wants to deal with. But Biden has to, and while his ideas may be OK, he and his team have not done a great job of making the legal case for them, which is why he's been stayed by the same judge twice now.
The President and his team have also not done a great job when it comes to implementation; part of his plan involves an app, because that is apparently the first solution everyone has these days when it comes to doing... anything. Why (Z) must use an app to pay for car charging with some networks, as opposed to just using a credit card, he does not know. And how the Santa Monica Blue Bus can insist on an app for payment, when buses are supposed to be a poor person's option, he really does not know. Anyhow, the asylum app that the White House put together is apparently godawful, according to those who are trying to use it. Of course, that may be a feature and not a bug; maybe making it hard to use is meant to discourage people from using it. Wouldn't be the first time something like that happened.
We will certainly be keeping an eye on this story, as it develops. The worse things go at the border, the happier Republicans are, since border policy is one of the few weapons they have that seems to actually work against the President. In contrast to, well, keep reading... (Z)