The Biden Administration quiet as Title 42 is set to expire, thousands of migrants wait at the border
El Paso has already declared a state of emergency over the influx of migrants as many more wait the Trump-era policy to end.
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Immigration has been at the forefront of national news in the last month as former President Donald Trump’s pandemic-era policy, Title 42, is set to expire on Dec. 21. The policy first enacted in the early throes of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, was a tight restriction that prevented tens of thousands from seeking asylum.
Southern U.S. border states have been strained as the number of migrations has increased significantly in recent times, especially Texas and Arizona. El Paso, Texas has already declared a state of emergency over the influx of immigrants making their way over the border.
Millions have their eyes on President Joe Biden and his administration as they remain relatively quiet as the holiday season is upon us.
Just as the policy is set to expire today, tens of thousands of migrants await at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Recently, the federal government went against an effort by GOP-led Southern states to keep the policy in place. However, in the early hours before they were set to expire, the Biden administration swooped in and asked the Supreme Court not to remove them before Christmas.
With a surge in border crossings set to occur, the government deployed the National Guard to the Rio Grande Valley and other borders along the Southern U.S., as thousands have already sheltered in El Paso. The Texas National Guard have also been posted in El Paso.
As for when any court decision is set to be announced is still rather unclear, and while migrants and U.S. officials wait for said answer, thousands of migrants have arrived along the Mexican side of the Southern border, either camping outside in the desert cold or taking refuge in shelters, hoping they get to advance to the U.S.
Under Title 42, U.S. officials have turned away asylum-seekers inside the country over 2.5 million times according to the Associated Press, in addition to rejecting and sending back those who requested asylum at the border, for the purpose of preventing the spread of COVID-19 under the Trump-era policy.
Immigration advocates have been fighting the policy ever since its implementation and more so now. They have argued that the restrictions negate American and international obligations they have to those fleeing to America trying to escape persecution, authoritarian rule, economic crisis and other reasons. They have also said that the excuses to reject migrants under the policy are outdated as the situation around the coronavirus has somewhat improved in comparison to when it first started nearly three years ago.
Advocates took this issue to court, looking to end Title 42 and a federal judge ruled in favor of them this past November, setting a Dec. 21 deadline.
Some GOP-led states such as Texas have appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing that the influx of migrants would and continue to say, take its toll on public services and cause an “unprecedented calamity” that the federal government is not prepared to deal with.
As a result, Chief Justice John Roberts issued a temporary order to keep the policy and its restrictions established.
The federal government then responded to Roberts and asked the Supreme Court to reject the GOP’s effort on Tuesday, Dec. 20. All the while, it also acknowledged that lifting Title 42 could lead to “disruption and a temporary increase in unlawful border crossings.”
The GOP-leaning states also argued that they were suffering from a lack of resources across the board that would not help with the number of migrants predicted to cross once it is lifted. The U.S. government also asked the Supreme Court for more time and added that it had sent more resources to the border and kept its stance that the solution is not to further extend Title 42.
“The solution to that immigration problem cannot be to extend indefinitely a public-health measure that all now acknowledge has outlived its public-health justification,” the Biden administration wrote in its brief on Tuesday, Dec. 20, to the Supreme Court.
Along with resources, the White House also announced that it has deployed over 23,000 agents to the Southern border. The Biden administration has also sent more Border Patrol processing coordinators, surveillance and increased security at ports of entry along the border wall.
If the Supreme Court acts before Friday, the U.S. government will want Title 42 to stay in place until the end of Dec. 27. If they respond by Friday or later, the government will look to have the restrictions remain until the second business day of 2023.
Much of this issue is a waiting game and unfortunately for many Southern U.S. border states and cities, pressure and anticipation is starting to build within these communities, not just on the U.S. side, but the Mexican side as well.
El Paso has been in the news in regards to this issue in recent days having been subject to a recent surge and having to shelter the migrants, which forced the state of emergency.
El Paso’s Democratic Mayor Oscar Leeser has announced that shelters in nearby Juarez, Mexico were at capacity, with an estimated 20,000 migrants prepared to make their way over. The Texas city has in response, hurried to accommodate the incoming migrants and those already there by turning large buildings and vacant schools into shelters, with the Red Cross bringing in over 10,000 cots.
“We will continue to be prepared for whatever is coming through,” Leeser said.