Border towns are bracing for an influx of migrants as health measure Title 42 is set to expire by midnight tonight. After Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts ordered a temporary stay, President Biden’s administration requested the policy remain in place until Dec. 27 unless the court’s top judge ruled first. With just a few hours remaining, the high court has so far remained silent.
In El Paso, Texas, authorities are anticipating thousands of crossings by those who have been camped on the other side of the border waiting for Title 42 to end. Border Patrol’s Central Processing Center has a maximum capacity of 1,400 individuals – at least 5,000 per day are expected to arrive per day beginning tomorrow. To partially mitigate the overflow, a tent the size of three football fields has been erected to provide shelter, the convention center has been converted, and two unused schools are also prepared to house immigrants. However, officials believe that with 20,000 eagerly awaiting, this will not be enough.
“It’s still going to get worse before it even gets better, and that’s what we’re preparing for,” El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser warned. “That’s what I call the unknown.”
Where’s the Title 42 Plan?
Upon entering the Oval Office, President Biden announced that he would be ending former President Donald Trump’s immigration restrictions but that he would do so at a steady pace and by “setting up the guardrails to find a solution to the immigration issue.”
What those particular “guardrails” are remain to be seen. Andrew Arthur of the Center for Immigration Studies lambasted the administration – in particular the Department of Homeland Security – for having no plan in place, writing:
“[T]he only things the department is prepared to do is channel illegal migrants from the border into the interior as quickly as possible and hide the scope of the resultant disaster by rechristening would-be illegal entrants as ‘parolees,’ allowing them to skip the land border altogether.”
So is the plan to deal with the estimated 15,000-a-day influx simply to shuffle the decks and recategorize?
Officials warn that with the end of this measure, cartels will be emboldened to increase their operations in both human and drug trafficking. “It’s a little bit more marketing right now for the cartels and the total number of people crossing,” former Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott told the Daily Caller.
“The end of Title 42 will add a huge revenue opportunity for the cartels,” retired Drug Enforcement Agency agent Derek Maltz told Fox News. “They’re just going to take advantage of the volume of distractions to our brave men and women on the front lines, and they’re just going to continue to move high-value targets into America… They’ll move all the cash coming back south into the country. They’ll keep bringing guns into Mexico from the United States,” he continued.
The Pieces on the Board
With this number of migrant crossings, the ending of this measure is not just a border town issue. Cities across the country are struggling to manage the people being transported by both the administration and Texas Governor Greg Abbott. This last year has seen record migrant crossings break two-and-a-half million – and that’s just the known cases. Former Acting Customs and Border Protection Chief Mark Morgan explained: “This administration’s open border policies have resulted in more than 6 million total encounters and known got aways from 160 different countries in less than 24 months.” And these numbers are only likely to increase exponentially with the Title 42 expiration.
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