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End Of Pandemic Expulsion Law Has Migrants Flooding U.S. Borders

Under white tents at the U.S.-Mexico border in Brownsville, Tex., dozens of Venezuelan men waited. Some sat on curbs and others leaned on metal barricades. When the gates opened, the long line of men filed slowly up the pedestrian pathway to the bridge and across the Rio Grande River to Mexico, the Associated Press reports. In the past few weeks, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials have been facilitating these expulsions three times a day as roughly 30,000 migrants, mostly from Venezuela, have entered the U.S. in this region since mid-April. That’s compared with 1,700 migrants Border Patrol agents encountered in the first two weeks of April. At the other end of the state, officials in El Paso are dealing with another surge of migrants and worry that thousands more are waiting to cross. The U.S. is preparing for the end of a policy linked to the pandemic that allowed it to expel many migrants quickly. It spotlights concerns about whether the end of immigration limits under Title 42 of a 1944 public health law will mean more migrants trying to cross the southern border.

“We’ve been preparing for quite some time and we are ready. What we are expecting is indeed a surge. And what we are doing is planning for different levels of a surge,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said last week in a visit to southern Texas. He stressed that the situation at the border is “extremely challenging.” He spoke from a location in Brownsville where U.S. officials had set up a tent and facilities like portable bathrooms for migrants. He said it’s difficult to identify the cause of the recent Venezuelan surge but the U.S. is working with Mexico to address it and predicted change “very shortly.” Many of those crossing the border are entering through Brownsville north of the Mexican border town of Matamoros. The city was rocked by another crisis Sunday when an SUV plowed into people waiting at a bus stop across from the city’s migrant shelter. Eight people, mostly men from Venezuela, died. Officials in President Biden’s administration say they have been preparing for well over a year for the end of Title 42. The strategy has hinged on providing more legal pathways for migrants to get to the U.S. without risking the perilous journey to the border. That includes setting up centers in foreign countries where migrants can apply to emigrate as well as a humanitarian parole process already in place with 30,000 slots a month for people from four countries to come to the U.S.


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