US braces for impact of mass illegal immigration as Title 42 ends

In March, 46% of all migrant encounters resulted in expulsion under Title 42.

Published: May 9, 2023 12:00am

Updated: May 9, 2023 12:20am

As the COVID-19 public health emergency is set to expire on Thursday — and, along with it, emergency authority under Title 42 to speedily expel asylum-seekers as potential public health risks — the U.S. is preparing for an influx of illegal immigrants to cross the southern border.

Title 42 is a public health authority that was invoked in March 2020 under the Trump administration during the COVID-19 pandemic to bar entry to asylum-seekers in an effort to prevent the spread of the communicable disease.

As illegal immigration continues to rise before the lifting of Title 42, many are concerned about the overwhelming increase of illegal immigrants entering the U.S.

In March, migrant encounters between ports of entry combined with noncitizens processed at ports of entry totaled 191,900, a 23% increase from the 156,138 tallied in February, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Single adults made up 69% of the March encounters.

During that month, 46% of all migrant encounters resulted in expulsion under Title 42. Over 6 million people at minimum have illegally entered the U.S. since January 2021.

Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb told "Just the News, No Noise" TV show on Monday that "every day we've got more and more apprehensions," despite the fact that his county in Arizona is not along the border.

"Our aviation unit is pulling people out of the desert every day," Lamb said.

The Yuma County sheriff told him earlier on Monday that "they have 4,000 people in custody," Lamb recounted, and the Cochise County sheriff said that "Border Patrol told him they're releasing 400 people into his community every day because they just can't hold the people.

"It's a disaster, and it's only going to get worse," Lamb continued, as officials "expect those numbers to go from about 7-8 thousand, which is what we're seeing now, up to over 11,000 a day in the next few days. And this is going to be catastrophic for all of us."

Addressing a message last week to illegal immigrants, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said: "The border is not open. It has not been open, and it will not be open subsequent to May 11th. And the smugglers who exploit vulnerable migrants are spreading misinformation. They are spreading false information, lies in a way to lure vulnerable people to the southern border and those individuals will only be returned."

The Biden "administration doesn't back anything up," Lamb said in reaction to Mayorkas' warning. "They have no muscle behind their mouth. And so, I don't expect anybody to change their behavior. It's almost like a wink, wink, 'Hey, don't come.' But then they just don't do anything to stop it, either."

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) also criticized the Biden administration for not preparing for the lifting of Title 42 in an interview with CBS that aired on Sunday,

"Everyone here in Arizona knows we are not prepared," Sinema said. "The Biden administration had two years to prepare for this and did not do so. And our state is going to bear the brunt, and migrants will be in crisis as soon as next week. It will be a humanitarian crisis because we are not prepared."

She also discussed a bill that she introduced with Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) last Thursday that would effectively extend operations resembling those of Title 42.

The bill would give Biden "a two-year temporary expulsion authority for migrants attempting to illegally enter the U.S. without inspection or proper documents," according to a press release from Tillis' office.

The bill "is about tiding this over, giving us some time and space for the Biden administration to do their job," Sinema added. "And for us legislators to actually create a plan that can get through both the House and the Senate."

Last Tuesday, Biden approved the temporary deployment of 1,500 active-duty troops to the southern border to assist the U.S. Border Patrol for 90 days. The troops "will fill critical capability gaps, such as ground-based detection and monitoring, data entry, and warehouse support, until CBP can address these needs through contracted support," Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said in a statement on the same day.

There are currently 2,500 National Guard troops assisting at the border.

House GOP committee chairmen Jim Jordan (Ohio), Mark Green (Tenn.), and Michael McCaul (Texas) introduced a bill last Tuesday that would invest in technology at the border and resurrect two Trump administration border policies — Remain in Mexico and the Asylum Cooperation Agreements — that the Biden administration ended through executive actions.

Meanwhile, Texas is preparing for the expected mass rush of illegal immigrants by reinforcing razor wire barriers along the Texas-Mexico border near El Paso.

In New York City, the city health commissioner noted that many illegal immigrants are arriving from countries with high rates of infectious tuberculosis and haven't been vaccinated for polio or chickenpox. As a result, he instructed New York healthcare providers to test the new arrivals for tuberculosis and chickenpox.

When Title 42 is lifted, the cartels "are going to be able to bring in all of their products such as the fentanyl, the dangerous drugs, the criminal aliens, and the aliens from special interest countries," Border Patrol union chief Brandon Judd told "Just the News, No Noise" last Wednesday. "All of that is going to go up, and it's going to be Americans that are going to pay for it."

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