A policy that was utilized to expel nearly 3 million migrants from U.S. soil over the past three years has officially expired, causing lines to form on the slice of America lodged between the Rio Grande and the border wall.
The public health emergency mandate, known as Title 42, which was primarily enforced to swiftly expel migrants, including asylum-seekers attempting U.S. entry, came to an end late on Thursday.
Since its initial implementation by the Trump administration in March 2020, Title 42 has been used approximately 2.7 million times at the southern border, amid a significant surge in migration.
In the fiscal year 2022, which concluded in September, agents apprehended immigrants a record-breaking 2.3 million times at the southern border.
In anticipation of this change, federal, state, and border officials have activated a series of policies along the extensive 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border, aiming to prepare for an anticipated disorderly crisis.
Thousands of migrants, previously residing in Mexican border cities, face a crucial decision: adhere to the Biden administration’s new regulations and schedule an appointment to request asylum, or risk a mass border crossing.
Video footage from South Texas on Wednesday showed hundreds of immigrants assembling on the banks of the Rio Grande near Brownsville.
In adjacent Hidalgo County, County Judge Richard Cortez enacted a seven-day disaster declaration on Thursday.
Emergency states have previously been declared in El Paso, Laredo, and Brownsville. On Wednesday, El Paso city officials transformed two unused middle schools into migrant shelters with federal funding.
Immigration agents are ready to deport migrants who attempt unauthorized entry into the country without a prior appointment via a port of entry using the government mobile application known as CBP One.
In a late Thursday statement, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas declared, “Starting tonight, people who arrive at the border without using a lawful pathway will be presumed ineligible for asylum. The border is not open. People who do not use available lawful pathways to enter the U.S. now face tougher consequences, including a minimum five-year ban on re-entry and potential criminal prosecution.”
Just hours before the end of Title 42, a federal judge in Florida blocked the Biden administration from executing a critical part of its plan: “paroling” migrants into the country without a formal notice to appear in court. This temporary restraining order was issued in response to a lawsuit by Florida’s attorney general. Border officials had used parole during the Trump administration and under previous administrations.