Pandemic-related asylum restrictions known as Title 42 are ending, straining US immigration system – NBC 6 South Florida

The pandemic-related asylum restrictions that had expelled migrants by the millions were lifted early Friday as people rushed to enter the United States ahead of new rules announced by President Joe Biden’s administration taking effect.

Meanwhile, the government suffered a potentially serious legal setback when a federal judge temporarily blocked its attempt to release migrants more quickly when border police detention centers were full.

Migrants, including children, have been pacing along a US border fenced in with barbed wire and secured by troops in northern Mexico, unsure of where to go or what to do next. Others settled into emergency shelters, determined to secure an asylum appointment that can take months to arrange online.

The expiring rules, known as Title 42have been in force since March 2020. They enable border officials to quickly return asylum seekers across the border to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

US authorities have unveiled tough new measures to crack down on illegal border crossings while providing legal avenues for migrants to apply online, find a sponsor and undergo background checks. If successful, the reforms could fundamentally change the way migrants arrive at the US-Mexico border.

Many migrants were aware of upcoming policy changes aimed at stopping illegal border crossings and encouraging asylum seekers to apply online and consider alternative destinations such as Canada or Spain.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” said Jhoan Daniel Barrios, a former Venezuelan military police officer, as he and two friends paced the border in Ciudad Juárez across from El Paso, Texas, looking for a chance in the seeking refuge in the United States

“We’re out of money, we’re out of food, we’re out of shelter, the cartel is after us,” said Barrios, whose wife was in US custody. “What should we do? Wait till they kill us?”

Last week, Barrios and his friends entered the United States and were deported. They had little hope of a different result on Thursday.

On the US side of the river, many immediately turned themselves in to authorities and hoped to be freed while pursuing cases in crowded immigration courts that take years.

It was not clear how many migrants were on the move and how long the surge would continue. Flow appeared to slow in some locations on Thursday evening, but it was not clear why and if crossings would increase again once coronavirus-related restrictions were lifted.

A U.S. official reported that border police stopped around 10,000 migrants on Tuesday — nearly double the number in March and just short of the 11,000 figure that authorities say is the upper limit of what they will be after Title ends 42 expect.

More than 27,000 people were in US Customs and Border Protection custody, the official said.

“Our buses are full. Our planes are full,” said Pedro Cardenas, a city commissioner in Brownsville, Texas, north of Matamoros, as the newcomers flew to locations across the United States

The new guidelines tackle illegal border crossings while creating legal avenues for migrants to apply online, find a sponsor and undergo background checks. If successful, the reforms could fundamentally change the way migrants arrive at the US-Mexico border.

However, it will take time for results to show. biden gave up the border will be messy for a while. Immigrant advocacy groups have threatened legal action. And migrants fleeing poverty, gangs and persecution in their homelands are still desperate to reach US soil at any cost.

While Title 42 Although many people were not prevented from applying for asylum, this had no legal consequences and encouraged retry attempts. After Thursday, migrants face a five-year travel ban to the United States and possible criminal prosecution.

Detention centers along the border were already well over capacity. But late Thursday, US District Judge T. Kent Wetherell, appointed by President Donald Trump, halted the administration’s plan to begin releasing migrants by requiring them to report to an immigration officer within 60 days if reception centers hit 125% have reached their capacity or when people are present for an average of 60 hours. The quick releases should also be triggered if authorities stop 7,000 migrants along the border in one day.

The state of Florida argued the government’s plan was nearly identical to another Biden policy that had previously been invalidated in federal court. Earlier Thursday, the Justice Department said its new move was in response to an emergency and preventing it from proceeding “could overwhelm the border and pose serious health and safety risks to non-citizens and immigration officials.”

Weatherell blocked the releases for two weeks and scheduled a May 19 hearing on whether to extend his order.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has warned that border patrol facilities will be even more crowded.

“I cannot stress enough the strain on our staff and facilities,” he told reporters Thursday.

While the migrants tried to reach US soil before the rules expired, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said the smugglers were sending a different message. He noted an increase in smugglers on his country’s southern border offering to take migrants into the United States, telling them the border would be open from Thursday.

On Wednesday, This was announced by the Homeland Security Agency a rule that makes it extremely difficult for anyone passing through another country like Mexico or who hasn’t applied online to qualify for asylum. It also introduced curfews with GPS tracking for families released before the first asylum reviews in the US.

The government says it is stepping up deportations of migrants who are not qualified to stay in the US on flights that carried nearly 400 migrants from the US to Guatemala on Thursday.

Among them was Sheidi Mazariegos, 26, who arrived near Brownsville with her four-year-old son just eight days after her arrest.

“I heard on the news that there was a way to get in, I heard it on the radio, but it was all a lie,” she said. Smugglers brought them to Matamoros and put the two on a raft. They were quickly arrested by border guards.

Mazariegos said she did the trek because she was poor and hoped to reunite with her sisters who live in the United States

At the same time, the government has introduced far-reaching new legal routes into the United States

Up to 30,000 people a month from Haiti, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela can enter if they apply online to a financial sponsor and enter through an airport. Processing centers open in Guatemala, Colombia and elsewhere. Up to 1,000 people can enter Mexico daily via land crossings if they can get an appointment in an online app.

In shelters in northern Mexico, many migrants chose not to rush to the border and waited for existing asylum appointments or hoped to book an appointment online.

Hundreds of migrants waited at the Ágape Misión Mundial animal shelter in Tijuana. Daisy Bucia, 37, and her 15-year-old daughter arrived at the shelter from Mexico’s Michoacán state over three months ago – fleeing death threats – and have an asylum appointment in California on Saturday.

Bucia read on social media that the pandemic-era restrictions ended at the U.S.-Mexico border, but preferred to safely cross the border later.

“What people want more than anything is to confuse you,” Bucia said.


Gonzalez reported from Brownsville, Texas; Spagat reported from Tijuana, Mexico. Associated Press writers Colleen Long and Rebecca Santana in Washington; Christopher Sherman in Mexico City; Gerardo Carrillo in Matamoros, Mexico; Maria Verza in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico; Morgan Lee of Santa Fe, New Mexico contributed to this report.

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