McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — A South Texas county judge has written President Joe Biden and four congressional lawmakers who represent the South Texas border asking to delay next month’s repeal of Title 42.

Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez late Monday sent letters to Biden along with U.S. Sens. John Cornyn, Ted Cruz; R-Texas; U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-Texas; and Republican U.S. Rep.-elect Monica De La Cruz, expressing frustration regarding what he calls “a serious issue on the horizon,” with the dissolution of Title 42.

Title 42 is a public health order that has been in place since 2020 that prevents migrants from crossing the border to claim asylum in the United States in order to stem the spread of COVID-19. A federal judge earlier this month vacated the policy and gave the Biden administration until Dec. 21 to wind down its use of Title 42.

In a phone call with Border Report on Wednesday morning, Cortez said the current situation at the Texas-Mexico border is “manageable” but he worries what will happen if Title 42 is lifted and additional resources are not sent to the region “without a substitute strategy or policy, then it can get out of hand.”

“At this point in time we’re managing them OK,” Cortez told Border Report. “However, we believe that if there’s not a substitute or some kind of strategy that will replace Title 42 then we believe that this manageable situation can change very quickly in the wrong direction, where it becomes unmanageable.”

“Provide leadership to delay the suspension of the Title 42 prohibition until a comprehensive strategy is developed to handle the expected increase of migrants,” Cortez wrote to Biden.

He cited an increase in migrants waiting across the border in northern Mexico for the opportunity to cross into the United States. “These camps are growing larger as individuals from around the world gather in anticipation of a renewed opportunity to enter our country,” Cortez wrote.

Cortez also once again invited Biden to come to Hidalgo County, which is just across the Rio Grande from Reynosa, Mexico, “and learn firsthand what the challenges are.”

“Current policies are placing an undue burden on those who have committed to protecting and defending our country,” Cortez wrote. “Yet, current policies and the possible repeal of Title 42 does little to assist them in carrying out their duty. Instead this system is increasing their burden and does a disservice to those who give of themselves for all of us.”

Migrants wait in a shelter in Reynosa, Mexico, in October 2021. Asylum-seekers cannot cross the border due to Title 42. (Photo Courtesy of Team Brownsville)

In May, Cortez wrote to Biden asking him to come to South Texas to view the border as Title 42 was then expected to be curtailed.

Cortez told Border Report on Tuesday morning that he did not expect to hear back from Biden. And he said he never heard a response from his May letter.

Border Report will update this story if additional responses are received.

Sandra Sanchez can be reached at