Posted on May 12, 2023

Title 42 Ends With 60,000 Migrants Waiting Near U.S.-Mexico Border

Camilo Montoya-Galvez, CBS News, May 12, 2023

An estimated 60,000 migrants were waiting near the U.S.-Mexico border as the Biden administration ended the Title 42 pandemic-era rule that has allowed authorities to expel those entering the country unlawfully, a top U.S. official told CBS News on Thursday.

Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz said his agency was preparing for some of the tens of thousands of migrants currently on the Mexican side of the U.S.-Mexico border to try to cross into the U.S. Title 42 expired at midnight Thursday.

“Upwards of 60,000 migrants we project are staging in and around the immediate border area,” Ortiz said in an interview earlier in the day in El Paso. “So we’re focused on ensuring that we’re doing everything we can to allocate resources to address those flows.”

In the lead-up to the end of Title 42, which was triggered by the expiration of the national COVID-19 public health emergency, border officials have already seen a spike in migration, recording around 10,000 daily apprehensions on some days this week.

As of Thursday, nearly 25,000 migrants were in Border Patrol holding facilities and tents, Ortiz said, despite the agency only having capacity on paper to hold several thousand individuals.

Ortiz said Border Patrol is working to reduce overcrowding in its holding facilities by rapidly releasing some migrants without court dates.

“We are over capacity in several of the sectors,” Ortiz said. “And so we’re working closely with our NGO partners, our communities to make sure that we release those migrants after they’ve been vetted and cleared, and they pose no significant threat to the community.”

Ortiz attributed the current spike in border arrivals to smugglers “forcing some migrants to make some decisions that ultimately they probably shouldn’t make” by spreading misinformation about U.S. policy, including on social media.

Despite the current challenges, Ortiz said he does not anticipate a “huge surge” in migrant crossings in the immediate aftermath of Title 42 ending.


He also said the government is hoping to deter illegal crossings by deporting or returning migrants who don’t qualify for asylum and prosecuting repeat border crossers.