Immigrants who have been denied entry into the US are gathering on the Mexican side of the southern border in preparation for the end of Title 42, a pandemic-era policy that denied migrants entry into the country.
Venezuelan asylum seeker Samuel Guerra told The Post he plans to be part of an “avalanche” of immigrants he predicts will enter the US.
He currently lives in a tent city of mostly Venezuelans half a football field away from El Paso, Texas – with only the Rio Grande and the title 42 standing between him and the US.
A federal judge on Tuesday overturned the Trump-era policy — which had thrown more than 2.3 million immigrants out of the country since the start of 2020.
The court gave the federal government a five-week deadline to close it, meaning it will officially end on December 21.
“In December it will be an avalanche of people; a sea of people,” Guerra told The Post on Thursday night.
A Washington Post report in March said that untitled 42 the southern border could see as many as 18,000 people cross the border a day — nearly three times the current level as people fail states in Colombia, Venezuela and other parts of the Central and South. flee America.
Title 42 applied primarily to migrants from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, but was expanded to include Venezuelans earlier this year after they flooded the border in their thousands to seek asylum. Asylum seekers overwhelmed the border towns they arrived in and shelter systems in the places they were transported to, including New York.
Guerra said he is braving freezing temperatures and sleeping outside or in a tent just feet away from where he plans to turn himself in to U.S. Border Patrol agents when Title 42 ends.
“They’re afraid one of us will freeze to death,” Guerra explained, adding that a Mexican shelter has offered to let the migrants sleep inside. “I didn’t want to go because I can’t risk leaving here and maybe losing my chance to get into the US,” he added.
The U.S. Border Patrol uses Title 42 to deport about 40% of immigrants they encounter at the U.S. southern border, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection figures.
“Once Title 42 goes away, it just means we will release even more people to the United States, which of course just encourages more people to come,” Brandon Judd, the president of the national Border Patrol Union, told The Post on Thursday.
Judd fears that smuggling organizations in Mexico and other Latin American countries will rush into the upcoming deadline to advertise their services to vulnerable immigrants who dream of a life in the US.
“No doubt they’re already advertising to those countries saying, ‘Title 42 is now gone; you are free to cross,” said Judd.
President Biden’s administration has yet to announce an alternative to Title 42 to cope with the massive numbers arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border — about 6,500-7,000 people a day, according to Judd.
In October, according to Border Patrol statistics, El Paso, Texas became the new hot spot with the most border crossings in the country. It’s also gearing up for the huge crowd that the title 42 ending could attract.
“They’ve been talking for the past year, the city and the county, about whether Title 42 would be repealed and the plan for that, and I’m sure those conversations will continue,” El Paso Council Member and Mayor pro tempore told Peter Svarzbein to The Post.
Since August, Texas’s sixth-largest city has spent nearly $9.5 million to deal with the migrant crisis, which threatens to collapse the city’s resources.
The White House has pledged to reimburse El Paso taxpayers in full, but has so far only coughed up $2.2 million.
Unwilling to spend more of its own money, El Paso closed its migrant shelter and bus program in October. When the federal government asked the city to reboot downtown to accommodate the new wave of immigrants, El Paso leaders said they needed money from them first.
In the absence of Title 42, Svarzbein believes the Biden administration, not El Paso, should come up with a solution.
“The federal government needs to look at realistic and comprehensive immigration reform; that was a long time ago,” Svarzbein said.
“All of these things need to be addressed and cans stopped being kicked on the road.”