Customs and Border Protection is asking agents across the country to come to the southwest sector to assist with the soon-expected end of the Trump-administration’s emergency use of the Title 42 federal health statute and a resulting surge in illegal immigration.
According to a CBP memo obtained by Just the News, the agency’s Office of Field Operations is “anticipating increased operational tempo along the SWB, necessitating additional resources to assist with processing, facilitation, and enforcement, as well as to limit operational disruptions.”
The office also suggests in the memo that such as surge could begin as early as next week and asks for “supervisory and non-supervisory CBP officers” to deploy to that sector’s ports of entry “for up to 60 days, with the possibility to extend. The anticipated start date for this assignment is April 5, 2022, with expected travel on April 4, 2022.”
Title 42 is a public health statute that was enacted in the 1940s and now gives the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention authority to determine whether a communicable disease in a foreign country poses a serious threat of spreading in the U.S. through people entering the country.
The Trump administration in March 2020, amid the early surge in COVID-19 deaths, imposed the statute so that CBP could immediately remove anyone entering the country without authorization and to close the border to nonessential travel in the “interest of public health.”
The recent CPD memo also warns that those coming to the border to work should expect “irregular shifts and schedules, including holidays and weekends” and that overtime may be authorized as necessary.
More than 1.7 million illegal immigrants have been deported since the statue was impose roughly two years ago, according statistics from the CBP, which on Monday did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Biden administration is expected to review Title 42 on Wednesday.
Earlier this month, the administration announced that it would cease deportations of unaccompanied immigrant children under Title 42.
Senate Democrats including Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, of New York; Alex Padilla, of California, and Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, of New Jersey, have criticized the decision because it keeps Title 42 in effect for adults and families.
“We are deeply disappointed,” the senators said in a statement earlier this month. “While we recognize that the administration made the right choice to prevent unaccompanied children from being expelled, it is wrong that they made the decision to continue sending families with minor children back to persecution and torture.”
The senators in their argument cited now widely available vaccines and testing and said there was “no public health benefit to sending asylum seekers back to harm.”
“As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention relaxes it domestic COVID-19 protocols, it is perplexing that the agency continues to recommend the extended use of this draconian policy at the border,” the letter also states. “As we have clearly reminded President Biden, we have a moral imperative to live by our values.”
Ohio GOP Rep. Jim Jordan tweeted the same day as the senators’ March 12 letter: “Democrats want to end Title 42 at the southern border. It’s one of our last lines of defense against illegal immigration. If they nix the program now, expect immediate chaos.”
On Thursday, Arizona Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly sent a letter to the White House regarding their concerns over a possible, abrupt halt to Title 42 without a plan to replace it.
“We write to you to express great concern about the lack of a specific plan from your administration,” the senators wrote.
“Given the impacts that changes to Title 42 could have on border communities, border security, and migrants, we urge your Administration not to make any changes to Title 42 implementation until you are completely ready to execute and coordinate a comprehensive plan that ensures a secure, orderly, and humane process at the border.”
The senators also say they urged Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in June 2021 to establish a “comprehensive plan” for the expected conclusion of Title 42 enforcement but that “to date, we have not yet seen evidence that DHS has developed and implemented a sufficient plan to maintain a humane and orderly process.”
While they made clear that they agree with fellow Democrats that Title 42 “should not be in effect indefinitely,” they also expressed concern over how its end could result in border “chaos,” threaten migrants’ safety and further strain “an already overwhelmed health care system” at the border.
Also on Thursday, Florida Sen. Rick Scott wrote a letter with 13 other Republican senators requesting information regarding DHS’ “plans to secure the southern border given the potential reversal of Title 42.”
Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz told CNN that he is preparing for as many as 8,000 people to be apprehended daily, more than twice the number during the 2019 surge and “will probably become the norm over the next 30 to 45 days.”
CBP has this fiscal year arrested roughly 940,000 illegal immigrant.