Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials are warning migrants who intend to enter the US illegally that the southern border is “not open” — before Title 42 expulsion authority expires next month.
“The US Border Patrol in the El Paso Sector would like to remind migrants that the border is not open to those without authorization or legal grounds to enter,” CBP officials in El Paso said in a statement Thursday.
Officials regularly issue warnings in both Spanish and English to combat what they see as misinformation being spread by smugglers and transnational open-border criminal organizations.
In the US, the debate over the ongoing southern border crisis has been fierce. Republicans have accused the administration of adopting “open borders” policies that fueled the crisis — which saw more than 2.3 million migrant encounters in FY 2022 alone. They pointed to the halting of the construction of the border wall, the end of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) and the paroling of migrants as examples of policies that have encouraged migrants.
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A Florida judge recently shut down the Biden administration’s parole of migrants with Alternatives to Detention and accused the administration of “turning the Southwest Border into a meaningless line in the sand and little more than a speedbump for aliens flooding in in the country.”
The administration says it is restoring legal asylum pathways destroyed by the previous administration while addressing a historic challenge across the hemisphere. It also pointed to recent measures introduced in January, including expanding deportations to four countries — Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Haiti — along with a humanitarian parole program to allow up to 30,000 migrants from those countries to fly in the US every month. It says those policies were followed by a sharp drop in border encounters.
However, Title 42 is set to expire next month on May 11 with the COVID-19 public health emergency. The order was introduced at the beginning of the pandemic and allows for the rapid deportation of migrants at the border. Its end has raised concerns that there will be a new influx of migrants at the border who believe they are more likely to be released to the US rather than turned back. With the order set to end at the end of 2022, officials warned of up to 14,000 migrant encounters a day.
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CBP officials, however, sought to emphasize that removals and other enforcement under regular Title 8 authorities will still remain in place. DHS has separately announced that it has a plan to deal with any surge, and will also impose asylum ineligibility for those who crossed illegally and did not claim asylum in a previous country they traveled to.
“The El Paso Sector is currently working with other sectors to assist in the removal of migrants encountered in the El Paso Region. Those migrants who do not consent to deportation and do not have a legal basis to remain in the US will be placed on removal orders. proceeding under Title 8. THIS DOES NOT CHANGE,” the statement said.
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“We wish to emphasize that migrants encountered in the El Paso Sector are also currently being deported through ports of entry throughout the southwest border,” the statement added.
Border policy came under intense scrutiny last month when Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas appeared before Senate and House committees and defended his agency’s handling of the crisis in the face of fierce Republican criticism.
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Some Republicans have raised the possibility of impeaching Mayorkas for his handling of the crisis, with some House lawmakers already introducing articles of impeachment against the DHS chief.
Those hearings come after Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz testified in a House hearing that agents do not have “operational control” of the border and that there are many sectors facing a “crisis” situation.