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Claim: US officials bussed illegal immigrants away from southern border to hide them from visitors

 May 7, 2023

A bombshell report from the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) revealed that migrants and asylum seekers on the US southwestern border were “bussed” away from facilities ahead of official visits. According to sources, the goal was to “make [the] place look fit and proper to code.”

Migrants were apparently “transported out of the facilities before a visit” and returned “after the visit ended.” In addition, it was said that more staff were called in to “create the impression that they are sufficiently staffed.”

More than 9,000 border officials were interviewed during the investigation into the Department of Homeland Security’s (DOH) handling of the border crisis. Most of them reportedly “painted a bleak picture.”

One official stated that visitors were “not shown how conditions are in reality.”

Overwhelmed and Understaffed

One of the key findings of the investigation was that the US border is highly understaffed. And it is expected that the situation could become even more severe once Title 42 expires on May 11.

Title 42 is a COVID-era policy enacted by former President Trump during the start of the pandemic. It allowed US officials to easily turn away migrants and asylum seekers at the border citing a public health risk.

The policy, however, is set to come to an end next week now that President Biden has declared an end to the pandemic. It is believed that this will spur a major influx of immigrants at the border, straining already struggling border workers.

There are already almost 40,000 migrants camped out along the border, reports CNN, and it is expected that this number will rise.

According to the DOH, around 13,000 migrants will try to escape to the US on a daily basis. Considering that around 2.3 million migrants tried to enter the US in 2022, this means that number would double this year.

This is a major rise from the 1.7 million migrants that crossed the border in 2021 and the mere 450,000 in 2020. Hence, Republicans are calling for a renewal of Title 42.

A Bandaid for a Broken System

“Staffing at the border has not grown at the same pace as the flow of migrants and traffic into the country,” OIG reported, suggesting an urgent need to address the situation.

The Biden administration is trying to temporarily alleviate things by sending in 1,500 active-duty troops for 90 days. In addition, the administration is working with a number of countries including Columbia and Guatemala to set up local processing centers in an effort to ease the burden on US immigration staff.

A more permanent solution is necessary, officials argue, as DOH has pointed out that there is “no funding” to improve border security.

And Republicans, reportedly, are the ones to blame for “blocking funds and reforms” necessary to alleviate the problem, according to a senior source from Biden's office. 

“House Republicans are pushing a MAGA agenda of chaos and inaction. They are playing politics when they should be joining the President in pursuing real solutions,” the source said.

It appears that border security will require cooperation on both sides, political experts suggest.

Ariel Ruiz Soto, an analyst for the Migration Policy Institute, also believes that this will require coordination between all levels of government, from local to federal.

“Clearly there’s significant policy change that is needed at the US-Mexico border,” Soto stated, adding that it needs to be "one that actually starts with increasing and providing better assistance for US asylum claims, one that is more fair and transparent about who can come to the country and seek asylum in which ways.”