This year has seen a record number of migrants attempt to cross the U.S. southern border because of President Joe Biden’s deliberately lax policies, and it’s about to get a lot worse.
A federal court ruling has paved the way for Title 42 to end, and it will do so on December 21 after a five-week delay was granted.
The rule allowed border authorities to reject most migrants for health reasons and was adopted at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It makes sense that the rule would go away now that the pandemic has ended, but ending it is likely to draw larger numbers of migrants to the border and release a flood of migrants into the country.
While the administration has fought to end Title 42, in practice, it has expanded its use in recent months by applying it to Venezuela in addition to Mexico.
The Biden administration says it has a plan for ending Title 42, including increased penalties for illegal entry and alternative forms of removal that would expedite the process.
DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the agency plans to surge personnel and technology to the border, prioritize “smart border security solutions,” increase anti-cartel efforts, and make the processing of migrants more efficient.
“We are enhancing the consequences for unlawful entry, especially with respect to individuals who seek to evade law enforcement, including removal, detention and criminal prosecution when warranted,” he said at a congressional hearing.
Mayorkas said that the U.S. is not alone in its migration crisis and that all countries in the hemisphere have the same experience.
Republicans and some Democrats are demanding answers and solutions to the crisis, however, and Border Patrol agents are concerned about what the future holds.
“Record annual encounters have led to untenable situations. In Arizona, shelters have been forced well beyond capacity. This month, El Paso has seen over 700 migrants released directly onto city streets due to overcrowding,” a group of Democrats said in a letter to Mayorkas. “This is not safe, and creates a dangerous situation for migrants and communities.”
Republicans about to take over the House have demanded that Mayorkas resign as a way to improve the situation.