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More Migrants Will Be Released in U.S. When Title 42 Restrictions End

The Department of Homeland Security said more migrants may be released into the U.S. to pursue immigration cases when Trump-era asylum restrictions end next week, in one of its most detailed assessments ahead of the major policy shift, reports The Associated Press. The department reported faster processing for migrants in custody on the border, more temporary detention tents, staffing surges and increased criminal prosecutions of smugglers. More migrants are expected with the end of Title 42 authority, which a federal judge ordered by Dec. 21, but Republican-led states asked an appeals court to keep the provision in place. The Biden administration has also challenged some aspects of the ruling, though it doesn't oppose letting the rule lapse next week. El Paso witnessed a large influx of people Sunday, becoming the busiest corridor for illegal crossings in October. The geographic shift to Texas’ westernmost reaches was likely a result of smugglers’ calculations on the best route, said Nicolas Palazzo of Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center in El Paso. According to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials, about 50,000 migrants are believed to be waiting to cross once Title 42 is lifted.

Authorities plan to admit those seeking asylum who go through ports of entry, but return to Mexico those who cross illegally between official crossings. U.S. officials in El Paso are exempting 70 migrants daily from Title 42, said Palazzo, who questioned how officials will handle more people. Unless they raise processing capacity significantly, migrants who go through official crossings may be told to wait a year or so for an appointment, said Palazzo. CBP said government agencies “have been managing levels well beyond the capacity for which their infrastructure was designed and resourced, meaning additional increases will create further pressure and potential overcrowding in specific locations along the border.” Earlier this year, they expected as many as 18,000 migrants a day. In May, migrants were stopped an average of 7,800 times a day, the peak month of the Biden presidency. In the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, migrants were stopped 2.38 million times, up 37 percent from 1.73 million times the year before. The annual total surpassed 2 million for the first time.


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