Homeland Security addresses end of Title 42 as migrant surge increases at US-Mexico border

Homeland Security addresses end of Title 42 as migrant surge increases at US-Mexico border

'The border is not open, it has not been open, and it will not be open subsequent to May 11th,' says Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas

By Darren Lyn

HOUSTON, United States (AA) - The US-Mexico border will not be open to illegal migrant crossings after Title 42 expires next week, according to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Friday.

"The border is not open, it has not been open, and it will not be open subsequent to May 11th," said Mayorkas at a news conference in the border town of Brownsville, Texas, where he announced plans to combat the migrant surge.

Mayorkas received a first-hand look at what the US Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs and Enforcement departments have been doing to prepare for the surge once Title 42 expires next Thursday.

"The situation at the border is a very serious one, a very challenging one and a very difficult one," said Mayorkas, who added that the fight against illegal immigration will continue.

"Every single day and every single night, day in and day out, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the United States Border Patrol agents are keeping our borders secure," he said after border agents confirmed they have screened and processed close to 30,000 migrants since April 16, which is part of the surge DHS expected as May 11 approaches.

Since Title 42 was enacted by former President Donald Trump in March 2020, the policy has allowed the US to expel migrants nearly 2.7 million times from the southern border, according to government figures.

Mayorkas said the expiration of Title 42 will not affect federal agencies' ability to deport illegal immigrants crossing the border because of Title 8, a decades-old US immigration policy.

"Title 8 ... actually deliver(s) a consequence," said Mayorkas. "Because when someone is removed, when someone does not qualify for relief, and is removed from the United States, they face an at least five-year bar from admission into the United States, so the consequence is going to be more severe."

Mayorkas also cited a policy enacted by President Joe Biden in January that allows the US to accept 30,000 migrants per month from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela provided that they have a sponsor. He said the policy is showing effectiveness.

"We saw a 95% drop in the number of encounters of those individuals at our southern border," according to Mayorkas, who said the new policy is taking a harsh stance on those who don't follow the rules.

"And we continue to expel Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans," he said. "In a post Title-42 environment, those removals will continue."

"Individuals who access the lawful pathways that we deliver for them will be able to come to the United States in a safe and orderly way," he said. "Those who travel irregularly in the hands of smugglers ... those who arrive irregularly at our border will be presumed ... will be presumed to be ineligible for asylum."

Mayorkas said the federal government also announced Friday the distribution of $363 million to help with shelter and migrant services at the southern border as part of Congress' $800 million funding package through the government's emergency food and shelter program. But he emphasized a lot more work is still ahead post-Title 42.​​​​​​​

"We are working within a broken immigration system that for decades has been in dire need of reform," he said. "We urge Congress to fix our broken immigration system."

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