RIO GRANDE CITY, Texas (Border Report) — In preparation for the end of Title 42, a South Texas congressman tells Border Report the Biden administration plans to fully enforce other laws to expel migrants who illegally enter the United States.
U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Democrat from South Texas and ranking member of the House Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee, said Friday the administration plans to aggressively send back to Mexico those who are apprehended for illegally entering the United States, or for trying to cross at ports of entry without proper documents, under what is called Title 8 procedures.
Currently migrants are prevented from crossing to claim asylum in the United States under Title 42. That’s the pandemic-era public health order that began in March 2020 to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Title 42 is set to expire next month.
“If somebody comes in between ports of entry, they’re going to be returned,” Cuellar told Border Report on Friday as he visited a ground breaking for a new Public Safety Building being built less than two miles from the Rio Grande in the border town of Rio Grande City, Texas.
“They’re taking steps on doing Title 8 and expediting (removals) under Title 8,” Cuellar said. “And if they implement those steps correctly, I think this will help us address Title 42, as it goes away on May 11.”
Cuellar says the administration is gearing up for potentially 13,000 migrants per day who could come to the border once Title 42 lifts. But he says different policies have been put in place to stem a massive flow north and to screen asylum-seekers appropriately.
Since January, asylum-seekers have been required to fill out the CBP One app to schedule an appointment with a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer at a U.S. port of entry along the Southwest border.
Also, a new expedited migrant processing pilot program has started on the Southwest border whereby U.S. Citizenship Immigration Services officers are administering credible fear interviews at CBP processing facilities to those seeking asylum to screen their entry and to determine whether they have a legal asylum claim under U.S. law. This is expected to hasten the expulsion time for those who don’t qualify because CBP facilities are designed to only hold migrants for up to 72 hours.
“So they either have to come through a port of entry, or they have to use the app to come in. The important thing is there has to be repercussions,” Cuellar said.
Large groups of migrants have been congregating at the border wall in Juarez, Mexico, trying to cross into El Paso, Texas.
Also migrants from Middle Eastern countries have been congregating in Tijuana, Mexico, south of San Diego.
However in South Texas, mostly single men and adults have been crossing the Rio Grande and trying to evade apprehensions in the thick and humid Rio Grande Valley.
A pre-dawn drive along the border on Friday revealed no large groups and Border Patrol officials told Border Report it’s “hit or miss,” although several government-contracted white buses filled with single men migrants were seen on the highway being transported out of the area to destinations unknown.
Sandra Sanchez can be reached at Ssanchez@borderreport.com