(CNN) The Biden administration is taking unprecedented steps to impose consequences against immigrants who cross the border illegally. Title 42Expires this week. But, officials agree A large number of arrests at the border The coming days will be an even tougher challenge.
President Joe Biden Put it simply on Tuesday: “It’s going to be messy for a while.”
Since Biden took office, administration officials have known that Title 42 will eventually have to go as the power-based epidemic recedes. The administration caused tension both within the administration and politically, as the Democrats did not end the administration soon enough, and the Republicans sought its extension.
Now, more than two years into Biden’s presidency His campaign announcement, the rule expires Thursday at 11:59 pm ET, with the end of the Covid-19 public health emergency. And it poses an immediate challenge to management.
“This is a very unprecedented moment in America,” a senior administration official said on Tuesday. “Twenty million people have been displaced across the region. The Covid-19 pandemic and political insecurity and climate change have exacerbated the drive to migrate in general.”
Administrative officials are making plans to manage the flow. U.S. border officials encountered more than 10,000 migrants at the U.S. southern border on Tuesday, according to a Homeland Security official, already surpassing government estimates just days after Title 42 expired.
Among the new policy measures the administration is implementing is a new asylum rule that would bar asylum seekers from the United States. A rule proposed earlier this year would have considered migrants en route to the border, such as Mexico, ineligible for asylum in the United States unless they first sought asylum. Immigrants who make appointments through the CBP One app will be exempt, officials said.
If immigrants are found ineligible for asylum, they can be removed through an expedited deportation process known as “expedited removal,” which bars them from the United States for five years.
The administration also plans to return Cubans, Venezuelans, Haitians and Nicaraguans to Mexico if they cross the border illegally, marking the first time the US has sent non-Mexican nationals across the border.
Both policies have been heavily criticized by Biden allies, who argue they are too restrictive and violate US law, as well as Biden’s campaign commitments to restore asylum.
But senior administration officials insist that measures are needed to encourage people to use legal means of coming to the United States. These include expanding access to parole programs for nationals who are eligible to apply for entry into the United States and making an appointment for immigrants to present themselves at a port of entry.
The State Department plans to open about 100 regional processing centers in the Western Hemisphere where immigrants can apply to come to the United States, though the timeline is unclear.
“However, despite these options for non-citizens, we have attached this to a strong set of consequences for continuing to cross the border illegally,” another senior administration official told reporters on Tuesday.
But the challenge officials face at the border also boils down to logistics.
As of Wednesday morning, more than 28,000 immigrants were in U.S. Customs and Border Protection custody, a Homeland Security official said.
When CNN asked Tuesday what steps authorities were taking to reduce the number of people in detention, a senior administration official said authorities were working closely with NGOs and had expanded transportation contracts.
“We are moving some people laterally to other parts of the border where there is more capacity,” said a senior administration official, adding: “In the last few days we have been dealing with a large number of non-citizens. We have seen this. The possibility of lifting Title 42 in May last year and again in December. We’re looking at it again.”
CBP is opening two new holding facilities, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement is ramping up deportation flights. The Department of Health and Human Services, which is responsible for caring for unaccompanied immigrant children, is also increasing its capacity.
The Department of Homeland Security has deployed 1,000 asylum officers to interview asylum seekers, hired “hundreds” of additional law enforcement personnel from other agencies within the department, hired “thousands” of contract workers and enlisted the help of 400 volunteers, officials said. said.
“We believe there is a robust set of measures in place to stem these flows over time, but there is no doubt that the first few days, weeks will be challenging,” a senior executive said.