Biden Predicts US-Mexico Border Will Be 'Chaotic'

'For a while,' at least, as use of Title 42 ends
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 10, 2023 12:37 AM CDT
Biden Predicts US-Mexico Border Will Be 'Chaotic'
FILE - A migrant waits at the Gateway International Port of Entry under U.S. Customs and Border Protection custody in Brownsville, Texas, Friday, May 5, 2023, before being sent back to Mexico under Title 42.   (AP Photo/Veronica G. Cardenas, File)

President Biden predicted Tuesday that the US-Mexico border would be “chaotic for a while" when pandemic-related restrictions end, as 550 active-duty troops began arriving and migrants weigh whether or when to cross. The restrictions allowed US officials to use Title 42 of a public health law to expel migrants with no chance at asylum 2.8 million times since March 2020. They are ending later this week and the US is putting into place a set of new policies that will clamp down on illegal crossings while offering migrants a legal path to the United States if they apply online through a government app, have a sponsor, and pass background checks. Biden said his administration was working to make the change orderly, the AP reports. “But it remains to be seen," he told reporters. "It's going to be chaotic for a while.”

Biden and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador spoke for roughly an hour Tuesday to discuss the border. Migrants are already arriving. Agents in the US Border Patrol’s relatively quiet El Centro, California, sector stopped about 260 migrants a day over a four- or five-day period through Sunday, up from about 90 a day the previous week, said Gregory Bovino, the sector chief. On Monday, agents found migrants from 22 countries. The Biden administration has said it is ready to deal with whatever happens after Title 42's use ends, although it has also repeatedly criticized Congress for not making changes to the country's immigration system.

The movement of troops is part of efforts to beef up security along the southern border, but they will mainly be used to help monitor and watch the border, or do data entry and support, and are “not there in any way to be interacting with migrants,” said Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, Pentagon press secretary. The goal is to free up US Customs and Border Protection personnel to do law enforcement activities. At least some of the active-duty troops will be used near El Paso, Texas, he said, while adding that CBP will decide where forces will go. More than 900 additional soldiers, Marines, and airmen will follow by the end of May.

(More US-Mexico border stories.)

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