Illegal crossings into the US are set to skyrocket following a change in law branded “disastrous” by a senior Republican whose state borders Mexico.
An estimated 9,000 to 14,000 migrants may attempt to cross the US-Mexico border per day when the Trump-era policy expires later this month, an anonymous official has said.
The law in question, a public health authority known as Title 42, was struck down by a US District Judge last month.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott, whose state shares a 1,254-mile border with Mexico, blasted the judge’s decision.
He said: “This will further signal to cartels, human smugglers, and illegal immigrants that the border is wide open – inciting more violence and lawlessness. Disastrous.”
Since March 2020, Title 42 has allowed border force authorities to turn back migrants encountered at the border, instead of processing them in the United States.
Officials had argued that lifting Title 42 would likely cause a surge in attempted crossings at the border, with a worst case scenario of 18,000 per day.
Before the legislation was enacted, encounters along the US-Mexico border ranged from approximately 6,000 to 7,000 per day.
Mass migration in the Western Hemisphere is fuelled, in part, by deteriorating conditions in other countries, particularly in Central America.
Officials said that the administration would continue to swiftly remove migrants with “no legal basis” for being in the country.
“As was the case before Title 42 went into effect and will remain the case after it, individuals encountered at the border and without a legal basis to remain in the United States will be subject to prompt removal,” an Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official told CNN.
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In the less than three year period it was active, border authorities used the public health restrictions to expel migrants nearly 2.5 million times.
However, last month a Judge struck down the restrictions. US District Judge Emmet Sullivan put his ruling on hold until December 21, when it will take effect.
Following the ruling, there has been outcry from Republicans as well as the Border Patrol Union, the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC).
“A federal judge has just ended Title 42 and the Biden Administration has done absolutely nothing to prepare for this outcome,” the NBPC said in a tweet.
The union, which represents around 18,000 Border Force agents, added: “If you think things are bad now, just wait for the s*** show that’s coming.”
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Earlier this year, the DHS under the Biden administration released a “Six Pillars Plan” it says will help control the situation at the border.
It includes things like “surging resources”, such as personnel, transport and medical supplies, as well as “increasing processing efficiency” with regards to migrants at the border.
It also said it would continue processes like expedited removal and that US Customs and Border Patrol (CPB) would detain single adults “when appropriate”.
DHS also said it was taking action against cartel and criminal groups and working with countries south of the border, including Mexico, to ensure all countries were “sharing responsibility” on the issue.