- Border Patrol agents are saying they aren’t getting much information regarding preparations for a major surge in illegal immigrants when Title 42, a major Trump-era expulsion order, ends May 11 and fear that chaos could ensue as a result, according to agents and internal Department of Homeland Security (DHS) document obtained exclusively by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
- Title 42 was enacted to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and has resulted in the expulsion of more than 2.5 million illegal migrants at the southern border, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) statistics.
- “There are thousands and thousands just waiting for Title 42 to end. I would say a fear is that the Biden admin has no clue just how bad it’s going to get. We can barely actively patrol the border now. When Title 42 ends, all of our resources, all of our little manpower that we do have, are going to be focused on processing. Field work will nearly cease to exist in my opinion,” one Border Patrol agent working along the southern border told the DCNF.
Border Patrol agents are being given limited word on how to prepare for a flood of illegal immigrants when Title 42, a major Trump-era expulsion order, ends May 11, according to two agents who spoke anonymously with the Daily Caller News Foundation and an internal Department of Homeland Security (DHS) memo.
President Joe Biden set the expiration of the COVID-19 emergencies, including Title 42, for May 11. The agents working the frontlines of the southern border had said they had very limited instructions about handling an expected surge of illegal immigrants come Title 42’s end and basically were just being told to mentally ready themselves for the worst in conversations with the DCNF.
One agent working along the southern border, who requested anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak, told the DCNF that the extent they were told about preparations was just to “brace for fucking impact” and to prepare to “weather the storm.”
With Title 42 in place, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has had record migrant encounters, with more than 2.3 million in fiscal year 2022 and more than one million between October and February.
A recent internal directive sent to some Department of Homeland Security officials that the DCNF exclusively obtained instructed agents to have “efficient cadence” for credible fear interviews (CFIs) to screen asylum claims and/or statements of fear of persecution, torture or similar threats.
“Due to the expected lifting of the currently operative CDC order, USBP and component partners must have an efficient cadence in place to be prepared to ramp up to USCIS conducting up to 1,000 CFIs per day in USBP’s short-term holding facilities for NCs across the Southwest Border,” the internal memo stated.
A second agent working along the southern border told the DCNF that it’s just a wait and see game, adding that there’s concern authorities won’t have the capacity or bandwidth to handle what’s to come.
“Most of the time, we are just told that Title 42 will end eventually and to be mentally prepared for the influx of migrants when it does. Regular line agents don’t seem to be offered an outline or plan as to how we will actually deal with the large numbers at the processing level,” the second agent said.
“Our facilities aren’t designed for large quantities of people. They are temporary housing facilities. When Title 42 is lifted, we will process them under immigration law, which governs when the migrants should be deported, detained, etc. We must also comply with U.S. asylum law, which will allow migrants to claim asylum, even when they entered illegally,” the second agent said.
The Biden administration is ignorant to the issue of an impending influx of illegal immigrants, the second agent explained.
“There are thousands and thousands just waiting for Title 42 to end. I would say a fear is that the Biden Admin has no clue just how bad it’s going to get. We can barely actively patrol the border now. When Title 42 ends, all of our resources, all of our little manpower that we do have, are going to be focused on processing. Field work will nearly cease to exist in my opinion,” the second agent said.
Republican states have challenged the Biden administration’s previous attempts to end Title 42, but the latest end to the public health emergency hasn’t faced any legal flack. DHS predicted that the end of Title 42 would usher in up to 14,000 illegal immigrants per day at the southern border, a source familiar with the preparations told CNN.
To address the surge in anticipation of Title 42’s looming expiration, the Biden administration announced new measures in January to allow migrants amenable to the public health order opportunities to have an exception granting them entry via a phone application known as CBP One or through an airport on the grounds of humanitarian parole.
“The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) continues to prepare for the end of the Title 42 public health order, which is currently the subject of multiple court orders, and a return to processing all noncitizens under the Department’s Title 8 immigration authorities,” DHS said in January.
DHS didn’t respond to a request for comment.
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