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Thousands wait along southern US border as end of Title 42 nears

Migrants are waiting for U.S. Customs and Border Protection to open the door as the Title 42 immigration policy expires Thursday at 11:59 P.M.
Thousands wait along southern US border as end of Title 42 nears
Posted at 6:29 AM, May 11, 2023

At 11:59 Thursday evening, Title 42 ends, leaving migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. with the hope it will be easier to get into the country. This belief has led to thousands waiting along the southern border.

Some are fleeing violence and some are seeking economic opportunity. There's confusion and frustration as migrants grow desperate at the border, attempting to navigate the recent changes in U.S. immigration policies.

Hundreds of migrants, including children, are crossing over from the Mexico side over to the U.S. side, right between a razor wire and the border wall. They say they're waiting for U.S. Customs and Border Protection to open the door.

One 26-year-old, Juan, says he fears a return to Venezuela would mark a death sentence. He tells Scripps News he escaped the country with his family. He says his plan is to turn himself over to immigration and he's hoping "with God's support" he will be allowed to enter. If they expel him to Mexico, he says he will try to apply on the CBP One App, which allows migrants to seek entry into the U.S. Juan is waiting for the number of appointments to increase on the app this week.

SEE MORE: Feds finalize new immigration rule as Title 42 expires

"Many people are fleeing their country not for the American dream, but for political persecution in many cases," social activist Connie Gutierrez said. 

Across the Southwest border, from California to Texas, thousands of migrants are waiting as Title 42 nears expiration. The pandemic-era policy allows the U.S. to quickly expel migrants.

And with the policy gone, President Joe Biden announced more legal pathways to reach the U.S.

"Making legal immigration more streamlined, illegal immigration shorter term," he said.

The president predicts chaos at the border, as Title 42 comes to an end. The Department of Homeland Security projects 11,000 to 13,000 migrants will cross into the U.S. each day.

"I think you have seen that we have been prepared," El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser said. "We didn't start yesterday, we are not starting today. We have been doing this for quite a while."

SEE MORE: Title 42 is ending. So what laws take effect now?

Immigration attorney Casey Williams says President Biden is sending migrants mixed messages with the new announcements.

"Telling them not to come here. He would rather that people not line up and ask for permission at a bridge or port of entry," he said. "President Biden appears to be trying to say that he's trying to make the process accessible, but bureaucratically, he's set up institutions and policies that are making it more likely for people to be excluded from having access to justice."

Immigration advocates are criticizing the immigration policy changes, which they say aim to deter migrants from seeking asylum at the U.S. Border and deprive them of a fair case.

Juan told Scripps News if he stayed in Venezuela, he would probably be killed for protesting against the government. 

The Biden administration is also implementing a screening process to quickly determine if migrants qualify for asylum.

"That increases the likelihood that those assessments will miss a lot of the legitimate cases that could ask for protection in this country," Williams said. 

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