Border crossings surging even before Title 42 ends
As Title 42 nears its expiration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has apprehended over 26,000 migrants within just 72 hours.
The Daily Mail reports that the average daily migrant apprehensions in the last three days amount to 8,794, a staggering figure expected to grow once Title 42 expires on Thursday.
Currently, an average of 7,700 migrants cross the southern border daily, but the Biden administration estimates that number could jump to 13,000 once Title 42 is no longer in use.
Title 42 and Its Impact
Title 42, a health-related immigration policy, was first enacted in March 2020 during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic by then-President Donald Trump.
This policy allowed immigration and border authorities to immediately expel migrants without hearing their asylum claims during a declared health emergency.
Preparations for the Surge
In anticipation of the massive surge at the border, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has deployed the newly formed Tactical Border Force, along with the National Guard already in place.
President Joe Biden has also deployed 1,500 active-duty troops to assist law enforcement at the border by May 10.
CBP Chief Raul Ortiz revealed that in the last 72 hours, the CBP had identified 7,399 "getaways" and seized 329 pounds of various drugs, including fentanyl, meth, and heroin.
Texas Gears Up
The elite Texas National Guard's Tactical Border Force is being deployed in preparation for Title 42's expiration on Thursday.
Gov. Abbott has emphasized the need for an immediate border barrier to stop the influx of migrants, stating, "We are deploying today a new Texas Tactical Border Force made up of elite National Guard who are trained for one thing, and that is to identify areas where illegal immigrants are trying to cross the border and fill that gap and repel them to deny them access to enter into the United States."
Texas National Guard soldiers have already been manning the border for several years, but the military presence will now be more prominent in response to the end of Title 42.
Thousands of migrants are currently lining up on the southern side of the U.S.-Mexican border, waiting for Title 42 to end on May 11.
Gov. Abbott has criticized the Biden administration, stating, "The Biden administration has been a disaster; they ripped apart policies that led to the lowest illegal border crossings in decades."
He also accused Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas of either lying or being unaware of the situation at the border.
The Biden Administration's Response
Although smugglers are encouraging migrants to head for the border, claiming the end of Title 42 will make it easier to cross, the Biden administration wants to enact stricter rules to speed up deportations and ban re-entry for illegal crossers for up to five years.
Concerns from the Border States
Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, an independent, has expressed concern over the lack of communication with Secretary Mayorkas, said Sunday, "I have nearly no communication with Mayorkas." As Title 42 expires, reports indicate that between 700,000 and 1 million migrants could cross the border in the days following the end of the pandemic-era expulsion policy.
As the southern border braces for a potentially unprecedented surge of migrants, the debate surrounding immigration policies and border security continues to intensify.