States that border Mexico are expecting to see the number of migrants seeking to enter the U.S. rise after a major pandemic-era policy expires Thursday.
Title 42, a public health policy first passed in 1944 to reduce the spread of disease, was invoked under former President Donald Trump in March 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic began. President Joe Biden’s administration initially kept the policy in place, but with the national COVID-19 public health emergency expiring Thursday, Title 42 will sunset with it.
The Biden administration expects as many as 13,000 migrants to cross the U.S.-Mexico border daily after Title 42 expires, or about 400,000 people a month.
That’s twice as many as current crossings, which have been running about 200,000 a month since the beginning of the fiscal year, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data.
“We are clear eyed about the challenges we are likely to face in the days and weeks ahead, which have the potential to be very difficult,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Wednesday at a press conference.
Here’s what state officials from states bordering Mexico have said about how they will respond:
Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs said her state’s response would be focused on public safety and humanitarian support. At a press conference Monday, Hobbs said she was prepared to take executive action and send additional National Guardsmen to the border if needed.
“Our approach will use all the state tools we have at our disposal to help border communities,” she said.
Hobbs’ office announced a joint information command between federal agencies, local governments, tribal communities and nongovernmental organizations to communicate and coordinate response. Hobbs, a Democrat, called on the federal government to do more.
“Without much more robust action from the federal government, the current situation will only get worse,” she said.
California’s Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office has not yet announced how the state plans to handle the expiration of Title 42.
In a statement to Fox 5 in San Diego, Newsom’s office said, “While the federal government is responsible for immigration policy and processing, California has served as a model of partnership for a safe and welcoming border, undertaking humanitarian efforts in border communities to support arriving migrants once they have been released by the federal government.”
The New Mexico National Guard told KOAT 7 in Albuquerque that Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, hadn’t reached out about any missions related to Title 42 expiring.
“The New Mexico National Guard has not been tasked by the Governor for any mission at the border, but just as we respond to wildfires and floods in New Mexico, we are always prepared to serve our state and nation.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced a new National Guard unit called the Texas Tactical Border Force on Monday and said the group “will be deployed to hotspots all along the border to help intercept and repel large groups of migrants trying to enter Texas illegally.”
“The Texas Tactical Border Force will bolster our Operation Lone Star efforts to secure the Texas border amid the chaos caused by President Biden’s elimination of Title 42,” Abbott, a Republican, said.
He claimed “Texas is doing more than any state in the history of the United States of America to defend our border,” including deploying up to 10,000 National Guard members and 1,200 Texas Department of Public Safety troopers.