Border officials could see an even larger surge of migrants at the southern border next week when Title 42 ends after daily crossings doubled in El Paso, Texas over the weekend.
It’s possible that the number of migrants crossing daily into the U.S. from Mexico could reach 14,000 when the pandemic-era expulsion policy ends just days before Christmas on December 21, Axios reported.
The warnings come after detention facilities and shelters in El Paso exceeded capacity after the influx of asylum seekers over the weekend, forcing thousands of migrants to descend onto the streets of El Paso.
Some 498 migrants were told to leave one facility Sunday and report back to the authorities to continue their immigration assessment.
Left with nowhere to go, migrants were forced to sleep on the ground in the center of El Paso, with some using cardboard boxes as mattresses. Temperatures around El Paso over the weekend fell to an icy 34F as migrants were left to seek refuge on the streets.
The overcrowding at the El Paso detention facility comes after a surge in border crossings in recent weeks. Between Saturday 10 to Monday 12 December, the El Paso sector alone saw an average of 2,460 asylum seekers each day.
Migrants who were forced out onto the streets due to overcrowding of shelters filled the covered areas of the city, pictured Sunday
Many asylum seekers were pictured hanging up waterproof sheeting and laying down cardboard boxes to sleep on the streets
With Title 42 set to end next week – an order that allows for the expulsion of migrants at the border – the rising influx of migrants is set to continue.
‘Over the weekend, the El Paso Sector experienced a major surge in illegal crossings, with a 3-day average of 2,460 daily encounters, primarily through the downtown area of El Paso,’ Peter Jaquez, the acting Chief Patrol Agent for the El Paso Sector, announced in a tweet.
He added that his force ‘will continue to keep the public informed as the situation evolves.’
The thousands of migrants who streamed into the city over the weekend overwhelmed the Border Patrol forces. A single caravan of approximately 1,000 asylum seekers was spotted crossing the Rio Grande into El Paso overnight on Sunday. It is possibly the largest-ever single-crossing group.
In total, over 7,000 migrants were seeking asylum at the El Paso border over three days. Overcrowding at the center forced the release of some asylum seekers.
Peter Jaquez, the acting Chief Patrol Agent for the El Paso Sector, posted an image of a packed border shelter on Twitter, saying that they had ‘experienced a major surge in illegal crossings, with a 3-day average of 2,460 daily encounters’
A migrant tries to keep warm with a piece of cardboard as he rests in a parking lot near a bus station after being released from U.S. Border Patrol custody in El Paso, Texas on Sunday
Migrants, mostly from Nicaragua, rest in a parking lot near a bus station after being released from U.S. Border Patrol custody in El Paso, Texas on Sunday
Migrants are pictured gathering under shelter as they brace from the freezing temperatures in El Paso, Texas
Migrants, mostly from Nicaragua, stand outside a store near a bus station after being released from U.S. Border Patrol custody
A migrant covers themselves with a blanket to shield from the cold after being released from the border facility due to overcrowding on Sunday, December 11
Migrants file along sheltered areas in El Paso after being released from border facilities to fend for themselves
Many asylum seekers were pictured hanging up waterproof sheeting and laying down cardboard boxes to sleep on the streets.
Across the entire border, a total of 16,000 migrants crossed in a 48-hour time period, Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz tweeted.
Overcrowding could become worse for border facilities as the surge in migrants increases even further. After a judge ordered that Title 42 will end next Wednesday, December 21, the numbers will only increase.
Border officials are now preparing for numbers to reach 14,000 migrant crossings each day.
Many migrants are also waiting on the Mexican side of the border for Title 42 to end. The end of President Trump’s pandemic-era order, extended by President Biden, will give migrants a greater chance being accepted into the U.S.
Many of them have been staying at NGO shelters and on the streets of Ciudad Jaurez, Mexico – just across the river from El Paso – as they wait for Title 42 to end.
The COVID-era Title 42 policy allowed enforcement officials on 2 million occasions to immediately expel asylum-seekers back to Mexico without processing them in the midst of the public health emergency. This sped up the process and also prevented Customs and Border Protection (CBP) from releasing migrants into the U.S. to await immigration proceedings.
Migrant crossings at the southwest border have increased significantly across 2022
In total, over 7,000 migrants were seeking asylum at the El Paso border over three days
Migrants queue near the border wall after crossing the Rio Bravo river to turn themselves in to U.S. Border Patrol agents, pictured December 13
Migrants walk across the Rio Grande in an effort to make a home for themselves in the U.S., pictured December 13
Migrants queue near the border wall after crossing the Rio Bravo river to turn themselves in to U.S. Border Patrol agents to request asylum in the U.S.
While officials have been expecting a surge once Title 42 ends next week, it appears they were not prepared for the inundation that happened in recent days before the policy was nixed.
Total known illegal border crossings stand at a record-breaking 4.4 million since President Joe Biden’s inauguration with another 1.5 million estimated ‘got-aways’ believed to have slipped into the country undetected.
Joe Biden’s administration have insisted that the end of Title 42 will not see a change of immigration policy. But Republicans have pointed at the fact there will be no mechanism to safeguard this once the order ends.
Migration has long been a contentious issue between the Biden administration and the southern state governments – particularly Texas and Arizona, which possess the longest borders with Mexico.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott has made a point of the continuing influx of illegal immigrants across the US border by sending buses loaded with migrants to what he has labelled as ‘sanctuary cities’ away from the border.
Last week, he sent a bus carrying dozens of migrants from Nicaragua to arrive outside Vice President Kamala Harris’ residence at the Naval Observatory in Washington DC.
The overnight bus arrived from Texas on December 7. Footage filmed at the scene showed men, women and young children climbing down the steps of the coach, carrying their belongings.
The migrants were immediately picked up by volunteers from humanitarian nonprofit group SAMU First Response, who saw to the people’s needs before helping them on to their next destination.
The Texas Governor has so far bussed well over 10,000 migrants out of his state through his Operation Lone Star project, which he says is to highlight the influx of illegal immigrants crossing the US border.
What is Title 42?
Title 42 border restrictions are a public health order that enabled U.S. authorities to turn back most migrants, including people seeking asylum from persecution.
They were introduced during the pandemic and are currently set to expire on December 21.
But the number of migrants now attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border is at its highest level in two decades – with even larger numbers expected to arrive once the pandemic-era order is lifted.
U.S. authorities say they are readying for as many as 18,000 daily crossings when the order ends next week.
Title 42 authority has been applied unevenly across nationalities.
Mexico has agreed to take back migrants from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Mexico – and limited numbers from Cuba and Nicaragua. High costs, strained diplomatic relations and other considerations have made it more difficult to remove migrants from other countries, who must be flown home.
Title 42 is one of two major surviving Trump-era policies to deter asylum at the border.
The little-used public health order that gives border authorities the ability to quickly expel nearly anyone encountered along the Southwest border.