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Some counties along the US-Mexico border are declaring a state of disaster after Title 42 expires

Some counties along the US-Mexico border are declaring a state of disaster after Title 42 expires

(CNN) — Title 42, the US’s Covid-19 border control policy as it’s known, expired overnight, and as tens of thousands of migrants are believed to be concentrated in northern Mexico, they will show up this Friday and the days that follow. There were American arrangements.

Throughout this week, the United States has sent agents, soldiers and other federal employees to the southern border in anticipation of the expiration of Title 42 at 11:59 p.m. Thursday, anticipating a stronger migration influx than seen in recent weeks. The ability of communities to receive them.

“We’re approaching it like a hurricane,” Victor Trevino, mayor of the Texas border city of Laredo, told CNN’s Erin Burnett Thursday night.

Title 42 is a 2020 policy that allowed U.S. officials to quickly remove undocumented immigrants with some exceptions to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Authorities have removed immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border more than 2.8 million times under Title 42 since the policy began. According to the data From United States Customs and Border Protection.

As the policy expires with the nation’s public health emergency, the U.S. will likely rely on the decades-old protocol with few changes. That protocol, though it could have more severe legal consequences for illegal crossers, would take much longer to get rid of Title 42.

The situation of migrants at the border

Shortly before the expiration date, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorgas issued a statement saying that this should not be interpreted as a clear path for immigrants to enter illegally.

“Don’t believe the lies of smugglers. The border is not open,” Mayorkas said.

Still, U.S. officials said an end to rapid Title 42 removals could attract an influx of migrants and worsen an already challenging humanitarian crisis along the southern border, where communities have seen makeshift camps scale border crossings in recent days.

Over the past two days, U.S. border officials have reported apprehending more than 10,000 migrants a day, a record number of daily encounters, and fear at the border is rising. An estimated 155,000 migrants are in shelters and on the streets of Mexico’s northern states along the U.S. border, a source familiar with the federal estimates said this week.

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Cameron and Hidalgo counties in South Texas issued disaster declarations before the expiration of Title 42, which helps free up state and federal resources while officials respond.

In El Paso, Texas, about 1,000 migrants were waiting to be processed in front of a Border Patrol station this Thursday afternoon, in addition to the 1,500 processed by border agents, US Border Patrol chief Raul Ortiz said. Two days.

On Thursday, one of them showed a CNN crew a cut on her arm from a barbed wire fence along the border. A friend pointed to his ankle, revealing an open wound, and continued to walk toward immigration officials.

“The situation in our countries is difficult,” the man said, explaining why he had traveled.

This isn’t the first time El Paso has seen intrusions at the border, but responding to them every few months isn’t sustainable, Mayor Oscar Leiser told CNN on Thursday.

“We can’t be doing this forever,” Leiser said.

Meanwhile, a court ruling late Thursday temporarily removed one of the tools the Biden administration wanted to use to manage the number of immigrants in U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody.

A federal judge in Florida has temporarily blocked the administration from releasing Border Patrol migrants without court notices. The administration is expected to appeal.

Amid heightened tension at border facilities, the administration is preparing to release some detained immigrants without a cut-off date, according to the Department of Homeland Security. It had previously done so after authorities checked and vetted a surge of migrants.

The judge’s decision came in response to an emergency motion from Florida, which previously opposed the release of the immigrant from custody.

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CBP said earlier Friday that it would comply with the order, but it is a harmful ruling that will result in unsafe overcrowding at CBP facilities and undermine our ability to effectively process and remove immigrants and run the risk of creating dangerous conditions. Border Patrol Agents and Immigrants.”

According to the judge’s order, a preliminary injunction hearing is scheduled for May 19.

Immigrants wait to be processed at the US-Mexico border before lifting Title 42 in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, on Thursday, May 11. (Credit: David Peinado/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

Community leaders along the border say they need help

Leaders in U.S. border cities have increasingly said their communities need help meeting the needs of immigrants and preventing services from being overwhelmed.

The Laredo mayor said he was concerned about the safety of immigrants, noting, among other things, that Laredo does not have a permanent pediatric intensive care unit.

“I don’t want to see any child get seriously ill and not be able to get treatment,” Trevino said.

Yuma, Arizona, has seen a daily influx of 300 to 1,000 or more immigrants in the past month, Mayor Douglas Nichols said.

Nichols told reporters Thursday that he wants a federal emergency declaration to provide “not just money, but resources on the ground.”

“A full response from the (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and the National Guard, who provide housing, food, transportation and medical care during any other disaster; That would be the start,” Nichols said.

Trevino, the mayor of Laredo, said the border crisis “could have been avoided in the long run” if immigration reform had been implemented, but his community is now paying a price.

“At the end of the day, what was always a federal problem for decades has now become a local problem for our border communities,” Trevino said.

The Biden administration plans policy changes

Title 42 allowed border officials to quickly deport immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border, often denying immigrants the chance to apply for asylum and drastically reducing processing times at the border. But Title 42 has almost no legal consequences for immigrants crossing, meaning that if they are turned back, they can try to cross again multiple times.

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As Title 42 expires, U.S. officials will lean more heavily on the decades-old Title 8, under which immigrants face more severe consequences for crossing the border illegally, including being barred from entering the U.S. for at least five years.

While Title 8 has more legal ramifications, including the prosecution of second-time catchers, processing times under that authority are longer than Title 42 and can strain already rare remedies.

Title 8 allows immigrants to apply for asylum, which can be a long and drawn-out process that requires a so-called credible fear assessment by asylum officials before their cases move through the immigration court system.

The government is also taking new measures.

A new regulation that goes into effect this week would bar immigrants who have traveled through other countries on their way to the U.S.-Mexico border from seeking asylum in the U.S., with some exceptions. A rule proposed earlier this year would have made migrants ineligible for asylum in the U.S. if they didn’t first seek asylum in a country like Mexico en route to the border. Immigrants who make appointments through the CBP One app will be exempt, officials said.

The State Department plans to eventually open about 100 regional processing centers in the Western Hemisphere and hopes to launch an online platform for immigrant nominations “in the coming days,” Homeland Security officials said.

The Biden administration is developing a new program for immigrant families published in the U.S. .

— Rosa Flores, Priscilla Alvarez, Andy Rose, Nouran Salahieh, Dakin Andone, Nikki Carvajal, Bill Kirkos, Rudy Rozales, Paradise Afshar, Ray Sanchez and CNN’s Colin McCullough contributed to this report.