Biden officials debate migrant crisis just blocks from border

President Joe Biden‘s administration is holding meetings to debate how best to address the migrant crisis mere blocks away from where Customs and Border Patrol officials are bracing themselves for the looming end of Title 42.

According to a Thursday report in the El Paso Times, border security industry executives are currently attending a two-day Border Security Expo alongside top brass from the Department of Homeland Security in one of the epicenters of the ongoing migrant crisis, an event taking place right as the administration has begun scrambling to address an impending wave of migrants across the U.S. southern border.

And the scenes were inescapable. Days before the event in the streets around downtown, CBP had already launched a “targeted law enforcement operation” in areas where migrants had taken refuge in the streets, handing out fliers encouraging migrants to turn themselves in, the newspaper reported.

In an aerial view, immigrants seeking asylum in the United States wait in line near the border fence to be processed by U.S. Border Patrol agents after crossing into Arizona from Mexico on May 11, 2023, in Yuma, Arizona. A surge of immigrants is expected with today’s end of the U.S. government’s Covid-era Title 42 policy, which for the past three years has allowed for the quick expulsion of irregular migrants entering the country. Over 29,000 immigrants are currently in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection ahead of the sunset of the policy tonight.
Mario Tama/Getty Images

And in border towns like El Paso, hundreds of newly arrived U.S. troops began to brace themselves for the arrival of hundreds—if not thousands—of migrants likely to seek refuge after the Thursday night expiration of Title 42, a Trump-era policy overturned in court earlier this year that allowed the expulsion of undocumented migrants due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are preparing for the unknown because we don’t know who’s coming—whether it’s families, whether it’s single adults,” El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser told CNN Wednesday.

Mexican officials also traveled to San Diego earlier this week, stressing their willingness to cooperate with the U.S. government to aid the transit of migrants.

At an event at the University of California-San Diego earlier this week, the Mexican ambassador to the U.S. Esteban Moctezuma told the San Diego Tribune the country was willing to cooperate with the United States so that there is “orderly, safe and regular” migration in the region, noting approximately 130,000 of the primarily South American migrants had sought asylum in Mexico on their way north last year alone.

“I do believe that the behavior of the American authorities these days is going to send signals to migrants, who have a very clear communication network, of how important it is to have an appointment and go through legal channels,” he told the newspaper.

Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Relations also released a pair of directives Wednesday to “defend the interest of migrants and their families, and to ensure due process and dignified and humane treatment for all migrants” as well as a proposal to continue funding to the migrants’ countries of origin, many of which have dealt with systemic poverty and corruption for generations.

As of Thursday, Mexican officials were already at a border processing center to continue what they do every day: “interview Mexican people who leave to provide information and ensure their rights.”

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