The recent decision to lift COVID-19 border restrictions known as Title 42 in the United States has caused a significant spike in U.S.-Mexico border crossings. Tens of thousands of migrants have been drawn to the border, straining local communities and intensifying political divisions. As daily apprehensions surpass 10,000, U.S. border cities struggle to provide shelter and transportation for new arrivals. This article explores the impact of the border surge, the Biden administration’s response, and the political implications of this issue.
US Mexico Border as Title 42 Restrictions Lifted
Recently, the number of migrants caught crossing the border illegally has increased dramatically. With daily apprehensions exceeding 10,000 on Monday and Tuesday, border cities face immense challenges in handling the influx of migrants. The situation has strained local communities and resources, providing adequate shelter and transportation for those arriving at the border complex.
President Joe Biden’s administration is surging personnel and funds to the border to address the escalating situation. They are also implementing a new regulation that will deny asylum to most migrants who cross the border illegally. This new measure, set to take effect when Title 42 ends along with the broad COVID public health emergency, aims to impose stricter consequences on migrants caught crossing illegally. Those not qualifying for asylum may face deportation and be barred from entering the United States for five years.
Republicans have criticized President Biden, accusing him of scrapping the restrictive immigration policies implemented by former President Donald Trump. They argue that these policy changes have led to the surge in border crossings and blame Biden’s administration for failing to address immigration laws and provide adequate border funds.
In response, the Biden administration has escalated its attacks on Republicans, highlighting their failure to fix immigration laws and provide necessary resources for border management. President Biden expressed frustration with Congress, stating that he had requested more funds for the Border Patrol, but Congress did not fulfill the request.
The Congressional Battle
The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives aims to pass a bill on Thursday that would toughen border security and restrict access to asylum. However, this bill is expected to face significant opposition in the Senate, where Democrats hold a narrow majority. The contrasting approaches to border security and immigration policy between the two parties further contribute to the political tensions surrounding this issue.
Record Arrests and Public Opinion
Since President Biden took office in January 2021, the country has witnessed a record 4.6 million arrests of migrants crossing the border illegally. It is important to note that this figure includes many repeat crossers. A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll indicated that only 26% of respondents approved President Biden’s handling of immigration, reflecting widespread public dissatisfaction with the current situation.
In Texas, Republican Governor Greg Abbott, a vocal critic of President Biden’s border policies, has expanded the ongoing National Guard deployment to help intercept and repel large groups of migrants attempting to enter the state illegally. However, concerns have been raised about whether Texas National Guard troops may be overstepping legal boundaries by taking on border enforcement duties.
Migrants in Limbo
As the Biden administration prepares to toughen enforcement under the new asylum standard, some migrants scramble to cross the border while Title 42 remains in effect. This has resulted in hundreds of migrants, including many small children, being stuck in a no man’s land between two tall border walls in San Diego, California. They often wait for days to be processed by overwhelmed U.S. border agents. The conditions in this area have been described as “squalid,” further highlighting the challenges faced by migrants.