(CNN) -- The Biden administration told the Supreme Court Tuesday that the justices should reject an emergency bid by a group of GOP-led states to keep a controversial Trump-era border restriction known as Title 42 in effect while legal challenges play out.

But it also asked for the court to delay the ending of Title 42 until at least December 27, citing ongoing preparations for an influx of migrants and the upcoming holiday weekend.

The administration said that the states, led by Arizona, do not have the legal right to challenge a federal district court opinion that had vacated the program and ordered its termination by Wednesday.

Chief Justice John Roberts temporarily froze that deadline on Monday, and asked the parties involved in the lawsuit, the Justice Department and the ACLU, to weigh in. Until the Supreme Court issues an order -- which can come at any time -- the authority will remain in place.

Title 42 allows US border agents to immediately turn away migrants who have been crossing the southern border illegally since March 2020, all in the name of Covid-19 prevention. There have been nearly 2.5 million expulsions -- mostly under the Biden administration, which has been bracing for an influx of arrivals if the authority lifts.

The last-minute legal wrangling comes as federal officials and border communities have been bracing for an expected increase in migrant arrivals as early as this week as the issue of immigration continues to ignite both sides of the political divide. The Department of Homeland Security has been putting in place a plan for the end of the program that includes surging resources to the border, targeting smugglers and working with international partners.

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