Migrants who traveled to the United States border seeking asylum have lashed out at the Biden administration after a federal judge ordered that the Title 42 health policy be extended — and many frustrated by the long wait have decided to risk crossing the Rio Grande into Texas, according to reports.
“First they said they were going to open the border to asylum claims, then they said they weren’t,” Max Alexander Gonter, 24, told Reuters while sitting in a migrant shelter in Monterrey.
Gonter told the wire service he has spent nearly two years waiting in Mexico to seek asylum after fleeing poverty and violence in his native Honduras.
“I can’t stand this anymore, I’m exhausted,” he said.
The Trump administration in 2020 adopted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Title 42 policy that allowed immigration officials to immediately deport illegal immigrants to Mexico without first hearing their asylum claims during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Biden administration was poised to end the policy on Monday, but a federal judge in Louisiana kept it in place Friday, agreeing with Republican attorneys general from 24 states that lifting Title 42 would prompt a surge at the border and cause “irreparable harm” to states having to take in the migrants. The Justice Department has appealed the ruling.
As many as 1.9 million migrants have been removed under the policy since it was enacted.
Some migrants pleaded to be allowed into the US, claiming they were disease-free.
“We understand Title 42 exists due to sanitary measures and that’s why we are here today with vaccination proof and COVID tests,” Juan Carlos Guzman told Reuters. “We don’t have that disease; therefore, I don’t think it’s fair to apply [Title 42] to us when we come fleeing for safety reasons.”
Despite the judge’s order, as many as 3,600 migrants crossed the Rio Grande into Texas over the weekend, Border Patrol officials told Breitbart News.
Last weekend, slightly more than 2,800 migrants were encountered in the Del Rio Sector, officials told the outlet.
Many of the migrants were confused or unaware that Title 42 would continue on Monday, and expressed frustration with having to wait, the report said.
Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) described the border as a “war zone” and called on President Biden to come to the region in person to see the effects of the crisis for himself.
“This is an unsustainable crisis. It’s a war zone every night. I’m calling on Joe Biden to come down here and see this for himself. And I don’t mean do a flyby stop at the airport here in McAllen. He needs to come down and spend some time on the river,” he said on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures.”
Marshall added that the president needs to see the bodies of migrants who drowned trying to cross the Rio Grande or talk to ranchers who find dead bodies on their land.
“Joe Biden has to stop sending the signal to everybody. He needs to stop making this a magnet. So … when he announced he was ending Title 42, that was the magnet for the rest of the world,” he said.
“There’s been about 8,000 encounters per day,” Marshall continued. “We expect that to go to 18,000 starting tonight. And that’s already, what, double from what it was a year ago.”