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El Paso, Texas — Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts on Monday granted an 11th-hour request by more than a dozen Republican-controlled states to temporarily pause a lower court ruling that ordered the end of a COVID-19 border restriction known as Title 42.

In a one-page order on Monday, Roberts agreed to place on hold the ruling that declared Title 42 illegal, pending further action from the full court. Roberts gave the Biden administration until Tuesday evening to respond.

A public health law first invoked under former President Donald Trump in early 2020, Title 42 has allowed U.S. border officials to expel hundreds of thousands of migrants, regardless of their intention to apply for asylum, on the grounds that their entry could contribute to the spread of the coronavirus inside the country.

In November, a federal judge in Washington, D.C. declared Title 42 unlawful, giving the Biden administration until Dec. 21 to terminate the rule. That prompted 19 Republican state attorneys general to ask several federal courts to suspend the ruling against Title 42, which GOP lawmakers have praised as an effective tool to deter illegal migration.

After their request was rejected by a federal appeals court in D.C. last week, the states asked the Supreme Court to intervene on Monday.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated.