Immigrant detentions at the US-Mexico border reached record highs after Title 42 ended

SAN DIEGO/WASHINGTON, May 11 (Reuters) – Migrants gathered on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border on Thursday, hours before the expiration of the immigration restrictions known as Title 42, some rushing to pass tough new asylum rules that would replace COVID. – Epoch Order.

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has detained 28,000 migrants in its facilities in recent days, exceeding its stated capacity, in what appears to be a record, two federal officials and the Border Patrol Association said on condition of anonymity.

According to union president Brandon Judd, the Rio Grande Valley in Texas and El Paso and Arizona are two of the busiest border crossing facilities.

This week, the number of people caught illegally exceeded 10,000 per day.

Because of the high number of visits, agents release some immigrants without notice to appear at the immigration court where they are making their asylum claims and then tell them to report to the immigration office, Judd said.

On average, people spend nearly three days in custody, Judd said. CBP did not respond to a request for comment.

In Yuma, Arizona, hundreds of migrants waited before dawn to turn themselves in to U.S. agents at a gap in a high border fence.

Some – like 40-year-old Joanna Gomez from Colombia – decided to try their luck now after hearing about the US policy change.

“In my country, you hear that immigration is only allowed until May 11, so we raced against the clock,” he said. “It’s not easy.”

Under Title 42, which has been in effect since March 2020 and is due to expire at midnight, hundreds of thousands of immigrants were quickly deported to Mexico.

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But Mexico has accepted only a few nationalities — mostly its own citizens and Central Americans, and more recently Venezuelans, Cubans, Haitians and Nicaraguans — and immigrants from other countries are allowed to pursue their immigration claims.

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That is set to change as President Joe Biden’s administration sends more personnel and funds to the border while implementing new regulations that will deny asylum to nearly all immigrants who cross illegally.

The measure would bar people who have crossed into another country without seeking asylum elsewhere, or who have failed to use legal channels to enter the United States.

It will take effect when Title 42 is lifted, with the decision to declare a broad Covid public health emergency on Thursday.

Top US officials issued another warning to illegal crossers. “Our borders are not open,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told reporters at a White House briefing.

CBP reiterated in a statement that Venezuelans, Cubans, Haitians and Nicaraguans who cross the Southwest border illegally after Title 42 will continue to be sent to Mexico. .

The United States has opened up legal options for immigrants from those nations to apply for entry from abroad in an effort to prevent people from coming to the border.

Political finger-pointing

US border cities are struggling to shelter newcomers and provide transportation to other destinations. Farther away from the border, other cities say they are struggling to cope, such as New York, where Mayor Eric Adams temporarily relaxed shelter-in-place rules due to lack of resources.

Florida’s attorney general is going to federal court to try to block the mass release of immigrants into the U.S. after the end of Title 42.

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U.S. Senator Kirsten Cinema, an Arizona independent who left the Democratic Party five months ago, criticized the administration on Thursday, telling reporters that the president had not adequately prepared for the end of Title 42.

He said small towns in his state are struggling to accommodate incoming migrants with little access to resources like buses or shelters.

Republicans blame Biden, a Democrat who is running for re-election in 2024, for overturning former President Donald Trump’s control policies as Republicans seek to win back the White House.

In recent days, Biden administration officials have stepped up their attacks on Republicans, who they say have failed to fix immigration laws or provide adequate border funding.

“I asked Congress for a lot more money for the Border Patrol,” Biden said Wednesday. “They didn’t do that.”

Since Biden took office in January 2021, the country has arrested 4.6 million illegal immigrants, though the number includes many repeat crossers. A Reuters/Ipsos poll released this week showed only 26% approve of Biden’s handling of immigration.

In Texas, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, a staunch critic of the president’s border policies, expanded National Guard deployments this week “to help intercept and repel large groups of immigrants trying to enter Texas illegally.”

Some organizations welcome immigrants. In Yuma, Fernando Quiroz, 50, of a volunteer group called the AZ-CA Humanitarian Coalition, was pulling a wagon filled with bottles of water to migrants awaiting processing in the middle of the night.

“The reason we’re here is our faith, our compassion, our empathy for many of these people,” Quiros said. “We want to be that friendly smile.

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“Who knows what will happen if you get on that bus?” he said. “This is the first step in a very long journey.”

Reporting by Mike Blake in San Diego, Ted Hessen in Washington and Lizbeth Diaz in Mexico City; Additional reporting by Jose Luis Gonzalez in El Paso, Texas and Christina Cook in San Francisco; Editing by Mary Milligan and Jamie Freed

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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