Local Officials Prepare For Looming Border Surge, Warning They’re Already Overwhelmed

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Asylum-seeking migrants are detained by a U.S. Border Patrol agent after crossing the Rio Bravo river to turn themselves in to request asylum in El Paso, Texas, U.S., as seen from Ciudad Juarez

Local Officials Prepare For Looming Border Surge, Warning They’re Already Overwhelmed

Jennie Taer on May 20, 2022

Local officials in border towns aren’t prepared for the looming migrant influx that’s expected to come when Title 42 ends, according to local reports.

Yuma, Arizona, Mayor Douglas Nicholls said that he expects migrants to be released in the city because Border Patrol won’t have the capacity to hold all of them, putting them in harm’s way, according to Fox10. The statements come before Title 42 is expected to end on Monday unless a federal judge intervenes and sides with Arizona in an ongoing lawsuit challenging the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) decision to end the policy used to quickly expel certain migrants.

“Title 42 needs to stay in place. There’s just no preparation sufficient enough at this point to manage that impact,” Nicholls said, Fox10 reported.

Nongovernmental organizations and city officials warn they lack the capacity and tools necessary to accommodate migrants released from Border Patrol custody when the public health policy ends. 

“My concern is that that capacity would be exceeded, and then, they release them to the streets of Yuma. That’s the problem. That’s where we are going to end up with: some real problems with people when it’s 120 degrees or 115 degrees, without resources, without shelter, without food, without water,” Nicholls said, according to Fox10. “We’ve already had 15 deaths this year in the sector. That’s only going to increase as we get into the hot part of the year.”

In El Paso, Texas, a Migrant shelter organization, Annunciation House, is already overwhelmed and needs more outside support, its director, Ruben Garcia said Wednesday, according to KVIA. The county is also in need of space for a processing facility and shelter that can alleviate some of the burden on nongovernmental organizations in the area, El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego said.

“I think we need to be prepared for both,” Samaniego said, KVIA reported.


Department of Homeland (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas asserted Tuesday that the nation’s laws will be enforced at the border, warning migrants against taking the dangerous journey.

“Traveling from one country to another in the hands of smugglers only to be met by the enforcement authorities of the United States government is not the way to achieve relief. The laws of the border will be enforced,” Mayorkas said.

The Biden administration asked the federal judge to issue a decision by Friday in the case brought by Republican attorneys general in Arizona, Missouri and Louisiana, who argue that ending Title 42 now will lead to chaos at the border.

“Revoking Title 42 will create an unprecedented surge at the southern border and it will overwhelm law enforcement agencies and non-governmental organizations as well. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, (DHS), estimates getting rid of Title 42 will result in as many as 18,000 migrants per day – which could mean 540,000 migrants in a single month,” the attorneys general argued.

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