US border officials preparing for influx as Title 42 expires
Authorities in the US are preparing for a major influx of migrants at the US-Mexico border as the controversial Trump-era immigration policy has now been lifted.
Title 42 used to allow border officials to swiftly deport migrants trying to enter the US, using ‘to stop the spread of coronavirus’ as the justification.
Tens of thousands of asylum seekers have gathered near the border. As the public health policy has now been removed, migrants seeking to enter the US will be screened and only removed if they do not qualify for asylum.
Immigration has turned into a major issue in the upcoming presidential elections, and President Joe Biden’s decision to remove the policy has brought scrutiny.
Speaking at a news conference in Texas, just hours before Title 42 was set to expire, Republican senators blasted the president over what they described as “truly a humanitarian crisis” and “an invasion”. Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Roger Marshall of Kansas, Ted Budd of North Carolina, and John Hoeven of North Dakota expressed fury at the southern border.
Title 42 will get replaced by Title 8, which was in place before the pandemic. The immigration law will once again allow migrants to apply for legal pathways to enter the country.
Around 10,000 migrants are now predicted by Homeland Security officials to try to cross into the US per day. But the actual numbers could be much higher.
US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Nicholas Mayorkas has issued warnings to migrants trying to enter the country illegally.
“Our borders are not open,” he said, adding people caught crossing the border unlawfully will be subject to a five-year ban and could face criminal prosecution as well if they try to re-enter.
Combating Undocumented Immigration
Title 42 was lifted the same day as the official US public health emergency. Some 24,000 border patrol agents have been deployed to the border, on top of 1,500 additional troops. The Biden administration is currently trying to oblige migrants to apply for entry using CBP One before they reach the US.
But a number of migrants have repeatedly raised concerns over the application not functioning the way it should and not allowing them to apply for asylum in the US from Mexico as promised.
In order to have better control over the situation, the US plans to open new migrant processing centres in Guatemala and Columbia to reduce illegal crossings. The idea is to have the people apply in these countries instead of at the US-Mexico border.
As part of a deal announced on May 2, Mexico has agreed to continue accepting 30,000 asylum seekers per month from four countries that make up a large portion of undocumented immigration – Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Haiti.
For its part, the US will be accepting up to 100,000 migrants from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras who have family in the country.