For the third day in a row, border patrol agents at the southern border have encountered more than 10,000 migrants as the number of migrants attempting to enter the United States continues to swell ahead of the end of Title 42.
According to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) there are approximately 26,000 migrants currently in federal custody and some 19,000 are waiting across multiple sectors of the border for processing, placing facilities over capacity, Fox News reported.
Title 42 is a law that addresses public health, social welfare and civil rights and gives the federal government the power to take emergency action to keep communicable diseases out of the country.
In March of this year 46 percent of all encounters at the southern border resulted in Title 42 expulsion.
The law was invoked by former president Donald Trump following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The last and only time it was ever used was in 1929. At the time it was invoked in an attempt to limit the spread of meningitis from China and the Philippines.
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When the Trump administration invoked the law it allowed authorities to expel migrants more quickly without having to consider them for asylum. Title 42 has continued under the Biden administration however, Biden has repeatedly tried to end it.
Biden’s attempts to lift Title 42 were met by numerous legal challenges from Republican states’ attorney generals. However, its use is coming to an end today.
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Title 42 ends Title 8 begins
Once Title 42 ends, the previous immigration law, Title 8 of the U.S. Code of federal statutes, begins.
While border authorities were able to expel migrants quicker under Title 42 — because they could dispense with the asylum process — they were not able to assess penalties on migrants, something Title 8 allows.
Under Title 8 migrants face two years in prison if they attempt to re-enter the country illegally, after being removed or deported, and people who are removed are prohibited from re-entering the country, even legally, for five years. If caught trying to re-enter, migrants face felony charges, imprisonment and longer bans on re-entering the United States.
Migrants are rushing to enter the U.S. with the belief that they are more likely to be released into the U.S. under Title 42, however U.S. authorities say this belief is based on misinformation and are promising that migrants who enter the country illegally and who do not take advantage of legal pathways will be removed.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, is urging migrants to remain cautious and not to fall for empty promises made by smugglers
“Smugglers care only about profit, not people. They do not care about you or your well-being. Do not believe their lies,” he said last week according to Fox News, adding that, “Do not risk your life and your life savings only to be removed from the United States, if and when you arrive.”
With Title 42 coming to a close, a new asylum rule will also be implemented that will make migrants ineligible for asylum if they have entered illegally and failed to claim asylum in a third country through which they have passed.
Authorities are also saying that penalties for illegal entry will be tougher once Title 42 ends including an increased use of expedited removal which carries a five-year re-entry ban and possible criminal prosecution.
Despite this approach Mayorkas says the weeks ahead will be “very difficult.”
“Even after nearly two years of preparation, we expect to see large numbers of encounters at our southern border in the days and weeks after May 11. We are already seeing high numbers of encounters in certain sectors. This places an incredible strain on our personnel, our facilities and our communities with whom we partner closely,” he said, according to Fox News.
“Our plan will deliver results, but it will take time for those results to be fully realized. And it is essential that we all take this into account,” he added.