EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – The Mexican government is warning its citizens of the penalties they can face under the U.S. Title 8 rule if they cross the border without authorization.

Foreign Ministry officials also are trying to keep Mexicans from placing their lives in the hands of smugglers or believing those who tell them the U.S. border is open now that Title 42 expulsions have ceased.

“The message we believe is crucial at this moment […] is that there will be consequences under Title 8 for people coming into (the U.S.) without proper documentation. That could imply five years of not being able to access immigration (benefits) or entry into the country, and in the worst case, criminal prosecution for illegal reentry,” said Vanessa Calva Ruiz, the ministry’s director for consular protection.

Calva has been meeting with U.S. border officials and Mexican consuls this week to make sure both governments are in sync in anticipation of challenges arising from the end of Title 42. The Trump-era policy provided quick expulsions of migrants crossing the border illegally. Title 42 went away on Thursday, but border agents will continue expedited removals under the decades-old Title 8 rule of migrants found to have no legal basis to remain in the country.

“It is important that authorities (on both sides of the border) are on the same page; We are,” Calva said during a Thursday visit to the Mexican consulate in El Paso. “We believe the messages people have to bear in mind right now is not to trust criminals and organizations that are benefiting from their vulnerability, for them to trust the messages we are putting forward in terms of the risks of crossing the border without the proper paperwork.”

Calva said she has been told by U.S. authorities they are confident of making a successful transition away from Title 42 operations to Title 8 guidelines.

“The message I received from Border Patrol is that what they are seeing is something that they are able to manage with the resources they have,” Calva said. “That includes processing, detention and removal of migrants from different nationalities.”

Although U.S. border agents in the past few months have been dealing with large numbers of Venezuelan and other South and Central American asylum-seekers, Mexicans traditionally are the largest group of migrants apprehended in the El Paso and Big Bend sectors of Far West Texas.

Consul General Mauricio Ibarra Ponce de Leon said his office will continue to assist Mexican migrants scheduled for repatriation through the El Paso port of entry.

“We help them get bus tickets to their communities or origin, we put them in touch with authorities in their communities, which generally assist their residents who are returned from the United States,” Ibarra said.