As Title 42 comes to an end, border crossings are set to significantly increase
The policy allows border officers to quickly expel migrants and asylum seekers at the border. It is set to end in two weeks.
MORE IN THIS SECTION
President Joe Biden and his administration currently face an ever-nearing Dec. 21 deadline to lift a Trump-era policy first introduced back during the pandemic known as Title 42. It allows border officials and police to, in a quick manner, expel migrants and asylum seekers at the Southern U.S. border.
Biden extended the policy and barring any legal or court intervention between now and the 21st, the end of Title 42 is expected to result in a huge increase in border crossings as border authorities and police will no longer have the legal backing that allowed them to turn migrants away, as been the case since its implementation back in March of 2020, in the throws of the pandemic.
As a result of the policy being lifted, the Biden administration is preparing for what could possibly come next, which would include the aforementioned increased border crossings.
There will also be further backlash from certain southern governors like Texas’ Greg Abbott and even California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who told ABC News this past Monday that eliminating the policy and having more migrants enter the state would “break” his state. He added that the U.S. government is sending "more and more" migrants to California because the state is "taking care of folks."
"The more we do, the burden is placed disproportionately on us," he said.
Regardless of the current predicament, this is something that has been long known to be nearing as White House officials were very much aware since Biden first assumed office that the pandemic-era policy would be ending.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked about the concerns within the Biden cabinet in regards to the potential increase in migrant crossings and answered by listing a series of personnel, processing and infrastructure efforts that have been put into place.
"We're going to do the work, we're going to be prepared, and we're going to make sure we have a humane process moving forward," Jean-Pierre told reporters on Tuesday at the White House briefing.
This is no doubt a tough situation for Biden to find himself in after a series of key wins in regards to legislation being passed as well as the Democrats’ impressive wins during the 2022 midterms this past November. Administration officials however have reiterated time and time again that the best long-term solution would come from some congressional action and put together a piece of bipartisan legislation.
As for the large number of migrant crossings in recent time, according to a senior Border Patrol official, over this past weekend, over 2,400 migrants crossed into the country each day in only one section of the border in El Paso, Texas. He described it as a "major surge in illegal crossings.”
Homeland Security officials have described the mood within the administration as concerned and worried about an influx in the near term.
An aspect of the entire situation that many have failed to recognize is that perhaps this immigration issue is really an indicator of failure on the part of the U.S. government, and Congress.
Rather than try and have a system that would allow for migrants easier access to citizenship or other forms of protection, they have opted instead to paint such migrants as invaders and/or create tough hurdles for said immigrants to even seek asylum.
With Title 42 uncertain and true concerns of an increase of border crossings, officials are currently debating on rules that immigrant advocates as a result have described as drastic and creating hurdles for migrants seeking asylum.
White House officials have also been in constant contact with Department of Homeland Security officials about planning for the surge. The National Security Council, which has been involved from the beginning in migration management have also taken part in these conversations.
"The team has been working really hard to ensure we're taking steps to manage the expiration of Title 42 and put in place a process that's orderly and humane. And we believe in doing so, we can protect our security concerns," National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Monday.
One particular asylum proposal that has been weighed is similar to that of a policy from during the Trump administration that limited the ability of migrants to claim asylum in the country if they traveled through other countries to get to the country.
At the moment, DHS is preparing facilities to process migrants. There have also been discussions to return non-Mexican migrants back to Mexico through existing legal tools separate from Title 42, according to two Homeland Security officials.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas came out in a statement saying that the proposed mass movement of people from the government has proved to be difficult.
"Despite our efforts, our outdated immigration system is under strain; that is true at the federal level, as well as for state, local, NGO, and community partners. In the absence of congressional action to reform the immigration and asylum systems, a significant increase in migrant encounters will strain our system even further," he said.
"Addressing this challenge will take time and additional resources, and we need the partnership of Congress, state and local officials, NGOs, and communities to do so," he added.
Border Officials have said they were already dealing with thousands of migrant encounters daily and with those numbers to increase within the next few days, there is major stress being placed on the lack of enough resources.
"If Republicans in Congress are serious about border security, they would ensure that the men and women of the Department of Homeland Security have the resources they need to secure our border and build a safe, orderly, and humane immigration system," White House spokesperson Abdullah Hasan said in a statement.
Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz said on Twitter that in this most recent weekend, border authorities arrested and captured more than 16,000 people with many officials seeing a huge influx coming into El Paso.
"The 21st (is) going to be a disaster. There are so many things in the pipeline, but nothing is ready (to) go," one DHS official said, referring to Dec. 21.