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Mayorkas pushes back on criticisms of the administration's planning for Title 42's end
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Friday defended the administration’s handling of the end of Title 42 and blamed Congress for not providing it with more resources or advancing Biden’s immigration proposals over the last two years.
In an interview on NBC’s “TODAY,” Mayorkas criticized a judge’s order Thursday night temporarily blocking the administration’s effort to ease overcrowding at detention facilities by allowing some vetted migrants into the U.S. without a court date or a way to track them.
“We consider that ruling to be very harmful,” Mayorkas said. “The procedure that we were executing is something that other administrations have done. These individuals are screened and vetted, and then they are released and then placed into immigration enforcement proceedings. The Department of Justice is of course considering its options with respect the court’s ruling."
The Homeland Security secretary also defended an administration’s efforts to severely restrict asylum for migrants who haven’t sought or have been denied protection in other countries before they reach the U.S.
“We have built lawful safe and orderly pathways for people to use,” Mayorkas said, adding that if asylum seekers don’t adhere to those pathways, they don't face a ban but "have a higher burden of proof to meet."
“We have a security obligation and a humanitarian obligation to cut the ruthless smugglers out,” he continued. "We are going to deliver consequences for people who don’t use [lawful] pathways."
Asked by co-anchor Savannah Guthrie if Biden bears blame for the situation at the border, Mayorkas said, "The fundamental point is that we need Congress to act. The president on day one presented Congress with legislative reform. Our system has been broken for more than two decades. It’s time not to criticize. It’s time to act."
Removal flights have returned migrants to their home countries
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement conducted multiple removal flights on Thursday, including to Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua, according to an administration official.
The flights were among dozens conducted each week. Thousands of migrants were removed, expelled, or departed voluntarily today, the official said.
Migrants wait for chance to enter U.S. after end of pandemic-era restrictions
EL PASO, Texas — Cheers and applause broke out as migrants prepared to cross the border into El Paso, Texas, hours after the lifting of pandemic-era restrictions on Friday.
Once across, men and women, some in hoodies and sweaters to guard against the chilly desert night air, walked in single file to a U.S. Border Patrol van. A man and woman held hands, the woman covering her nose and mouth with her sleeve as dust filled the air.
Dozens of migrants had already boarded three white school buses in small groups, flanked by members of the National Guard and Border Patrol in green and camouflage uniforms.
After the van left, border authorities closed the outermost chain link fence and sealed it with a heavy lock.
Title 42 ending 'necessary' but ubiquitous detention not right, aid group says
The International Rescue Committee has slammed the beefed-up repercussions for those who will now attempt to cross the U.S-Mexico Border.
Ending Title 42 was a “necessary step to restore the rule of law,” president and CEO David Miliband said in a statement. The group provides humanitarian support to asylum seekers,
But "the IRC believes it is neither right nor practical to render illegal any attempt to claim asylum that is not based on a prior appointment," he said.
Families arriving to the border were fleeing for their lives, he said, recommending the U.S. adopt a "humane and effective" case management approach instead of detention. “The evidence from around the world is that cruelty is not the route to order,” he added.
Migrants cross the Rio Grande as Title 42 expires
Photo: Migrants board a bus in Yuma, Ariz., as Title 42 expires
First group of migrants passes through Gate 42 after Title 42 is lifted
EL PASO, Texas — A group of migrants was brought through Gate 42 at the border wall in El Paso just before 11:30 p.m. local time Thursday, about an hour-and-a-half after Title 42 officially ended.
The migrants were escorted into a white school bus in small groups. The bus was flanked by members of the National Guard and the Border Patrol.
The migrants walked in a single file carrying nothing on them, some looking down. Some appeared to be young men in hoodies and long shirts on the chilly night.
About 10 minutes after it arrived, the first bus left. Shortly after, another group boarded a second bus.
ACLU sues Biden administration over asylum policy
The American Civil Liberties Union and several immigration advocacy groups are challenging the Biden administration's new policy of limiting asylum for people who cross the border without prior authorization.
A lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for Northern California less than an hour after Title 42 expired argues that the updated immigration policy mirrors two Trump-era policies that were previously blocked by the courts. It prohibits asylum for migrants who traveled to the U.S. through third countries and did not obtain protections before arriving at the border.
“The Biden administration’s new ban places vulnerable asylum seekers in grave danger and violates U.S. asylum laws. We’ve been down this road before with Trump,” Katrina Eiland, the managing attorney with the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, said in a statement. “The asylum bans were cruel and illegal then, and nothing has changed now.”
The filing argues that the Biden administration cannot restrict access to asylum based on how someone arrived at the border and that migrants often lack the ability to seek protections while in transit.
The challenge was filed on behalf of the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, American Gateways, the Central American Resource Center, the Immigrant Defenders Law Center, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the Tahirih Justice Center.
Title 42 officially expires
The Covid-era restrictions that allowed immigration officials to quickly turn away migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border expired at 11:59 p.m. ET, ushering in tougher policies for asylum-seekers.
“Starting tonight, people who arrive at the border without using a lawful pathway will be presumed ineligible for asylum. We are ready to humanely process and remove people without a legal basis to remain in the U.S," Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement.
"The border is not open," he added. "People who do not use available lawful pathways to enter the U.S. now face tougher consequence."
It was a quiet night on the U.S. side of Gate 42 in the lead-up to the policy change. Hundreds of migrants have been waiting in Juárez, across the border from El Paso, Texas, in recent days.
A Customs and Border Protection official in El Paso said Thursday night some 300 to 400 migrants were waiting on the Mexican side of the border wall near Gate 42 in Juárez.
“They’ll be processed under Title 8,” the CBP official said.
President Donald Trump invoked Title 42 in 2020 as the coronavirus spread across the country. The Biden administration announced this year that it would end the national Covid-19 emergency and that immigration policy would revert to Title 8, which allows immigrants to apply for ways to enter the U.S. legally and carries penalties for attempted illegal border crossings.
Water to be released into Rio Grande, raising safety concerns for migrants
Officials and law enforcement officers in Texas are preparing for water to be released from the Caballo Dam, 100 miles north of El Paso, into the Rio Grande, which flows through the southwestern U.S. into northern Mexico.
Water will be released Friday and could reach El Paso, along the U.S.-Mexico border, by next week, according to the International Boundary and Water Commission, which coordinates with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
It was not immediately clear how much water will be released.
To address safety concerns, law enforcement officials are erecting barbed wire near the river to prevent migrants from trying to swim into the U.S.
"We're telling them in Spanish this is not an area to cross," said Lt. Chris Olivarez of the Texas Department of Public Safety. "It's very dangerous. If you're going to seek asylum, go to the ports of entry, where it's much safer and it's much more controlled."
El Paso Water, a nonprofit public utility that serves the Texas city, said it has been informed of the plan and is working to partner with local organizations to inform migrants and asylum-seekers of the dangers of trying to swim across the river.
"In the past, EPWater worked with a local non-profit organization that handed out flyers at shelters in Juarez, warning migrants about the dangers of the river when water is flowing," the utility said in a statement. "We are currently exploring the same option ahead of the water release in the next week."
Judge blocks DHS plan to release some migrants into U.S. with no way to track them
A federal judge in Florida tonight blocked the Department of Homeland Security from implementing a new Biden administration policy that would release some migrants into the U.S. without court dates or the ability to track them.
U.S. District Judge T. Kent Wetherell II, who was nominated by President Donald Trump in 2019, said the restraining order would take effect at 11:59 p.m. ET "to correspond with the expiration of the Title 42 Order and to give Defendants an opportunity to seek an emergency stay from a higher court."
The restraining order will expire within 14 days, said Wetherell, who set a court hearing for May 19.
The ruling comes hours after Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody filed an emergency motion seeking to halt implementation of the policy, which is part of a plan that would release some migrants on “parole” with notices to report to Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices but without enrolling them in the program.
ICE adds thousands of detention beds, stops Covid testing
With Title 42 set to expire in mere hours, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is eliminating Covid-19 testing requirement on all detainees, the agency said in a statement.
The changes will increase the number of beds available in detention centers and allow immigration officials to process migrants more quickly, the agency said.
ICE facilities will be required to test asymptomatic migrants only if a facility is at an elevated risk level or the countries where they will be sent require negative Covid tests, the statement said.
GOP senators call border crossings 'a humanitarian crisis' and 'an invasion' at Brownsville news conference
Republican senators at the souther border today blasted President Joe Biden over what they characterized as both "a humanitarian crisis" and "an invasion."
Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Roger Marshall of Kansas, Ted Budd of North Carolina and John Hoeven of North Dakota spoke at a news conference in Brownsville, Texas, just hours before Title 42 was set to expire.
Marshall said it was "very emotional to come here to see what's going on, just the humanitarian crisis here, the number of people." Budd similarly described the situation as “truly a humanitarian crisis.”
Cruz, adopted a different tone, likening the record numbers of migrants crossing the border in recent days to "an invasion."
"I am angry because this is deliberate. This is a decision that was made by President Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and congressional Democrats to open up the border to what is nothing less than an invasion," he said. "This isn't an invasion, and they want the numbers to go up."
Texas law enforcement officers erect razor wire near border
Asylum-seeker from Nicaragua used Facebook to make his way through Mexico
EL PASO, Texas — Wayner Carcamo made his way into the U.S. through Mexico from his native Nicaragua relying mostly on information found through Facebook and word of mouth.
He would scour various pages for the latest updates on best travel routes, times to cross through ports of entry and places where enforcement was toughest.
"Sometimes it would be rumors to get people to go that way, and then they’d be waiting for them," he said.
On Thursday, armed with his asylum documents, Carcamo presented himself to immigration officials in Texas and waited 20 minutes before he got his next hearing date. In August, Carcamo will learn whether he is allowed to remain legally in the U.S.
"Nicaragua is a dictatorship," he said. "Since 2018, [there have been] a lot of sociopolitical issues, the people against the government for a lot of inconsistencies. ... The economy had been deteriorating — no jobs."
All eyes on Biden as Title 42 impact hits far beyond southern border
CHICAGO — The city here is so overwhelmed by an influx of migrants that it has declared a state of emergency. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has done the same. Philadelphia is bracing for a new stream of buses carrying migrants. And New York Mayor Eric Adams suspended the city’s right-to-shelter law.
The migrant crisis fueled by the end of the Covid-era immigration restrictions known as Title 42 isn’t hitting just border towns — it extends more than 1,000 miles from the country’s southern border.
And it all has the eyes of the nation focused squarely on the White House as the policy ends tonight.
The left and right flanks of the immigration debate, who see eye to eye on nothing else, agree that President Joe Biden has mismanaged the crisis. Not only does it touch on the lightning-rod issue of immigration, but it also gets at the issue of Biden’s competence, with critics saying it recalls the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Heart rate detectors, drones: Companies tout border security wares
EL PASO, Texas — At the Border Security Expo at the El Paso Convention Center, dozens of national and international companies have arrived to sell their products: weapons technology they tout will make the border more secure.
One company is trying to sell the federal government a pulse detector to be used in trucks, because many migrants enter hidden in trailers or cars.
There is also a special camera for sale that can be strapped on dogs, which can access places humans cannot.
In addition, a camera drone that can travel longer distances is being promoted as “the quietest on the market.”
Immigration policies have affected the U.S. labor market
The U.S. population is 1.4 million people shy of pre-pandemic projections, according to an April analysis of federal data by the Brookings Institution. About 900,000 of those “missing” people would have been expected to be working.
Wendy Edelberg, that director of the Hamilton Project and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, attributed roughly 650,000 of the absences to deaths (Covid-related or otherwise) and the remaining 250,000 to immigration policies during the pandemic — particularly Title 42, a Trump administration measure that expires tonight along with the federal public health emergency.
House passes Republican border security bill
The measure was approved this afternoon in a 219-213 vote. Two Republicans joined all Democrats in opposing the measure.
Republicans said the bill, the Secure the Border Act of 2023, would address a crisis at the border by mandating that Customs and Border Protection hire and train 22,000 Border Patrol agents, as well as develop a plan to upgrade existing technology to make sure agents are well-equipped.
The legislation would also require the homeland security secretary to resume construction of the border wall, a centerpiece of former President Donald Trump’s administration.
The bill is unlikely to become law. Democrats, who oppose the bill, hold a slim majority in the Senate and the White House issued a veto threat against the measure this week.
Sinema says she and WH differ on 'what this crisis looks like on the ground'
In a briefing with reporters, Sens. Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz., and Thom Tillis, R-N.C., shared details of their proposal that would give the Biden administration authority to extend Title 42 for two years, without the use of a public health emergency.
“I think the Biden administration does want Congress to take action, and I appreciate that, it is our job,” Sinema replied when asked by NBC News whether the administration wanted Congress to step in.
But Sinema, who caucuses with Democrats, went on to slam the administration for ending Title 42 “prematurely.” She said she had communicated her concerns — many of which had been informed by local Arizona officials — to the White House. “We have a difference of opinion on what this crisis looks like on the ground.”
The Senate is not expected to take up the legislation as is, but top Democrat Dick Durbin of Illinois said he plans to introduce his own bill to help the administration deal with the influx of migrants amid a stalemate over a comprehensive bipartisan plan.
The House today passed a Republican border security and immigration package with not a single Democrat voting in favor. Still, Sinema and Tillis said they view it as a positive development.
“I’m less concerned about the elements of the House Republican bill, and more concerned that they get a bill over to us because that’s what we can work together,” Sinema said.
Homeland security secretary: 'Our borders are not open'
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas again urged migrants not to cross the border unlawfully or they would be quickly expelled.
“I want to be very clear,” Mayorkas said during a media briefing today at the White House, “our borders are not open.”
“Do not risk your life and your life savings only to be removed from the United States if and when you arrive,” he added.
Mayorkas said anyone who arrives at the southern border after midnight will be presumed ineligible for asylum and subject to steeper consequences for unlawful entry, including a minimum five-year ban on re-entry and potential criminal prosecution.
He said the transition from Title 42 to Title 8 will be “swift and immediate” and that 24,000 Border Patrol agents and officers, thousands of troops, contractors and more than 1,000 asylum officers and judges will see that through.
More than 665,000 people were removed during the first half of the fiscal year, he said, adding that the migrant crisis is the result of Congress leaving a “broken, outdated immigration system” in place for over two decades.
“We are clear-eyed about the challenges we are likely to face in the days and weeks ahead and we are ready to meet them,” Mayorkas said.
Trump reprises racist rhetoric that preceded El Paso mass shooting
In a video released today, former President Donald Trump likened people at the border to an "invasion." The rhetoric is similar to what Trump used right before the 2019 mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, in which 23 people were killed and 22 injured. References to an invasion by Hispanics was in a document that authorities connected to the El Paso gunman that was posted on far-right message boards.
El Paso, a majority-Latino border city, is one of the cities seeing thousands of people arriving with the hopes of entering the U.S. before Title 42 ends tonight.
Trump also said in the video that he'd follow President Eisenhower and orchestrate "the largest deportation effort in American history" if he is re-elected president. Eisenhower's administration conducted a sweep dubbed Operation Wetback to deport Mexicans, including U.S. citizens of Mexican descent as well as legal residents. Trump also praised the program in 2015 when he was a presidential candidate.
El Paso official: "We're as prepared as we can be"
El Paso County’s migrant processing center has scaled up operations in preparation for the end of Title 42 tonight at midnight.
Starting tomorrow, the Migrant Support Services Center will be able to process 800 people who have recently crossed the border per day, up from the current 650, Irene Valenzuela, the executive director of the county of El Paso’s Community Services Department, told NBC News.
Migrants arrive at the center after being processed by immigration authorities, with the goal of making travel arrangements to continue on their journeys. Since October, the services center has processed some 34,000 people, with about 400 of those needing temporary shelter in El Paso, she said.
Valenzuela said the hope is that scaling up to 800 people a day — or possibly more, if needed — can help ease the pressure on nongovernmental organizations that shelter migrants. In recent weeks, up to 3,300 people were staying in the area outside a church and homeless shelter because shelter services were at capacity.
The county is still preparing for a potential increase of thousands of people coming to El Paso after Title 42 lifts. “The systems are in place to be able to prepare for migrants to come into our community,” Valenzuela said. “Any system can break if we get an extreme amount of volume coming in that we were not anticipating.”
“We’re as prepared as we can be," she said. "And we’ll see how all these new rules and policies will impact that."
NYCLU sues two counties trying to block migrants
The New York Civil Liberties Union, a civil rights nonprofit, filed a federal lawsuit Thursday against Rockland and Orange counties for attempting to block migrants who want to relocate out of New York City.
The legal action comes after Rockland County successfully sued the city for trying to establish temporary shelters for hundreds of migrants in hotels outside of city boundaries.
Rockland County was granted a temporary restraining order against the city late Tuesday, while Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus issued an executive order Wednesday directing all hotels and motels not to accept migrants or asylum-seekers.
Amy Belsher, the NYCLU’s director of immigrants’ rights litigation, said those orders “egregiously” violate constitutional clauses.
“Migrants have every right to travel and reside anywhere in New York, free of xenophobic harassment and discrimination,” Belsher said in a statement. “People are not political pawns.”
The two counties are located directly north of the New Jersey and New York border.
A San Antonio charity is preparing room
SAN ANTONIO — Catholic Charities in San Antonio is preparing for a potential arrival of people from the border as Title 42 is expected to come to an end at midnight. The charity has increased its capacity, securing hotel rooms in case its shelter — which had about 650 people in it Thursday afternoon — fills up, said Antonio Fernandez, president and CEO of the organization.
Fernandez has overseen the sheltering of many people through different migration events, helping families separated during the Trump administration and assisting Afghan refugees, as well as more recent groups of migrants. An immigrant himself, Fernandez said he has heard too many stories about the suffering and loss of those who have left their countries to come to the U.S.
“They are asking me, 'When do I work? How do I do this? When am I going to be able to do this?' We are having a lot of people in the country and they are asking how they can take care of themselves,” he said. Fernandez said he could help Afghan refugees find work and housing, but he can’t do the same for the more recent asylum-seekers who must await the processing of their applications before working.
Scenes from the border
Hispanic caucus chair calls GOP border bill a 'stunt'
Rep. Nanette Barragán, D-Calif., chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, doubled down on her Democratic colleagues' criticism of the House Republicans' bill to address immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border.
"This bill is an adoption of the failed Trump-era policies that call for the criminalization of the right to seek asylum," Barragán said during a press conference.
Barragán argued that the bill, which would hire and train 22,000 Border Patrol agents as well as require the Homeland Security secretary to resume construction of the border wall, is a "political stunt."
"This bill falls so short, so short, on who we are as a nation and as part of an agenda that’s more than just unconstitutional — it’s a political stunt," she said. "It’s anti-immigrant. It’s anti Latino, and it’s anti American. It’s time for a comprehensive immigration reform that’s humane, that expands legal pathways for migration, protects your dreamers and addresses the root causes of migration."
Florida sues U.S. over migrant release plan
The state of Florida is suing the U.S. over the Biden administration’s plan to begin releasing some migrants into the country without court dates or the ability to track them, according to court filings.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody filed an emergency motion Thursday, seeking a temporary restraining order to halt the implementation of the policy, which she argues is “materially identical” to another one blocked by a federal judge earlier this year.
The defendants in the suit are the United States of America, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas and U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz. The agencies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
U.S. District Judge T. Kent Wetherell II gave the defendants until 4 p.m. ET Thursday to respond so the court could rule on the motion before Title 42 ends at midnight.
NBC News first reported the plan Wednesday. The new policy would release some migrants on “parole” with a notice to report to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement office but without enrolling them in the program.
Over 10 days at checkpoints, one man pleads for the U.S. not to forget him
JUÁREZ, Mexico — Jesús Miguel Roera Mendoza, 26, made a more than two-hour round trip in flip-flops and socks — "what I have on is what I have left" — to get food and cleansing wipes as he and others wait at border checkpoint 42 for a chance to be allowed into the U.S.
"We're going to let you come through," he said U.S. border officials told him at checkpoint 40. But after six days of waiting, he moved to a different one, where he's been camped out.
"We have our hearts in our hands," he said, at times getting emotional, saying that being deported back to Venezuela would be "fatal." He had sold his house, car and motorcycle to get to the U.S.
"We want to do things right ... we want to come in legally," he said, as he asked President Biden and officials in charge for help, hoping that the U.S. "doesn't forget us."
New York City struggles to find space and help
New York City is struggling to find space for asylum-seekers and has asked nearby counties for help housing them before Title 42 ends and increases the influx, city officials said Thursday.
“We no longer can physically accommodate people that request emergency shelter without emergency shelter space provided outside the city,” Manuel Castro, New York City’s immigration commissioner, said.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams said the city is getting an average of 500 new arrivals each day and anticipates potentially thousands more once Title 42 is lifted.
The request has been met with pushback from leaders of some surrounding counties. In a statement, Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus criticized Adams for a “disorganized disaster” and said law enforcement agencies were not notified that buses of migrants would be arriving Thursday.
Meanwhile, under an executive order, Adams has temporarily suspended some of the city's “right to shelter” rules that require newly arriving families to be placed in shelters. The mayor said it was a “difficult decision” to make but the right one.
More than 60,800 asylum-seekers have come through New York City since last spring and more than 37,500 are currently in the city’s care, the administration said.
More than 11,000 apprehended on Wednesday
Two DHS officials tell NBC News that U.S. Customs and Border Protection apprehended just over 11,000 migrants on Wednesday, holding steady with Tuesday’s record setting numbers.
Department of Homeland Security officials earlier in the week predicted 10,000 apprehensions a day. On Wednesday, Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz said if the daily numbers climb to 13,000 to 14,000 per day, Title 42's end could be more problematic.
House to vote on Republican border security bill hours before Covid restrictions lift
Republicans said the bill, the Secure the Border Act of 2023, would address a crisis at the border by mandating that Customs and Border Protection hire and train 22,000 Border Patrol agents, and develop a plan to upgrade existing technology to make sure agents are well-equipped. The legislation would also require the homeland security secretary to resume construction of the border wall, a centerpiece of the Trump administration.
The bill is unlikely to become law. Democrats, who oppose the bill, hold a slim majority in the Senate and the White House issued a veto threat against the measure this week.
Mexico suspends operations at some migrant centers pending review
Mexico’s migration institute, INM, announced it would suspend operations at 33 migrant detention centers while the country’s National Human Rights Commission completes a review of the sites, in the wake of a fire that killed 40 people who were in government custody.
The facilities, located across the country, can house up to 1,300 people at a time for stays of up to seven days, it said in a statement.
CBP orders area by the border to be 'cleaned up'
JUAREZ — U.S. Customs and Border Protection in El Paso ordered migrants who had been staying near Gate 40 on the Mexico-U.S. border to clear up all debris in the area.
“We want everything cleaned up,” a CBP officer screamed at the people who had been lying down on cardboard and blankets overnight.
Visibly armed U.S. military personnel were asking people to line up.
About 200 migrants were present at the time.
200 people a day are being bused to Denver
About 200 people from the southern border have been transported to Denver daily in the last six days, city officials said yesterday.
The city said it processed more than 370 new migrants Tuesday — up from roughly 20 to 30 people per day for most of March and April.
Denver said it has served more than 8,800 migrants since Dec. 9. Almost 1,000 are in four emergency shelters that are at near-capacity, officials said, adding that Denver is working to provide temporary shelter and transportation to those newly arrived.
Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock addressed the increased numbers in a press conference on Thursday. “We’re not turning anyone away,” he said, while discussing the difficulty of balancing the new arrivals with those in the city who are homeless.
What immigration has to do with lower housing prices
New home construction is key to unlocking lower housing prices.
But the rate of this type of construction has fallen month to month since last March, and experts say tough immigration policies that have shrunk the construction workforce are behind the building squeeze.
Nationally, foreign-born people make up 30% of construction workers, data from the Census Bureau shows, making immigrants a key part of the home building puzzle.
But against a backdrop of tightened immigration policies instituted during the Trump administration and exacerbated during the pandemic, the number of foreign workers entering the construction industry has almost fallen in half. There were more than 67,000 new workers in 2016, compared to 38,900 in 2020.
Arizona officials call for federal emergency declaration to help with increase of migrants
Five officials representing Arizona communities along the U.S.-Mexico border have called for a federal emergency declaration to help with an expected increase in migrants after Title 42 expires.
Mayors from almost every single border town, including Yuma, Somerton, Nogales, Douglas and San Luis, said “it is not sustainable long-term” to handle the influx of migrants without federal assistance.
A disaster declaration would cut any “red tape” and enable the flow of federal assistance under the Federal Emergency Management Agency to affected states. The Biden administration has not indicated whether it would approve such a declaration, but other areas along the southern border, including El Paso, Texas, have already begun to declare their own states of emergency.
“I think at this point, we should really put on the table an emergency declaration,” progressive Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., said Tuesday.
Earlier this year, Gallego launched a bid against Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz., who has yet to reveal her own 2024 plans. Sinema, along with Republican Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, unveiled a bipartisan proposal that would give the Biden administration authority to extend Title 42 without using the public health emergency. That bill is not expected to pass before the measure expires.
A Republican bill to fund border security and immigration reform is expected to move through the House today, but is dead on arrival in the Democratic-led Senate.
Bus of migrants arrives at VP Harris' residence
A bus carrying more than 30 migrants arrived outside Vice President Kamala Harris’ residence in northwest Washington, D.C., this morning.
Many of those on the bus said they came from Venezuela. The bus is among the first to arrive in Washington from the Texas border in months, hours before Title 42 is set to be lifted tonight.
The bus was filled with men, women and children, who were met with volunteers from SAMU First Response and Mutual Aid. They were loaded onto another charter bus, heading to what NBC News was told is a “place of refuge” to get their needs triaged and to figure out next steps.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, last week vowed to continue busing migrants to Democratic cities while blaming the Biden administration for what he described as an untenable flow of migrants. Arizona has also continued busing migrants to Washington, coordinating more closely with local D.C. officials to do so.
Immigration officials unveil expedited process for families with credible fear claims
Immigration officials announced a new process for families apprehended at the southwest border who are eligible for expedited removal and indicate they will seek asylum or express a fear of persecution or torture if they are deported to their home countries.
The Family Expedited Removal Management process will impose a curfew and provide heads of households with GPS ankle monitors for tracking purposes.
The program is designed to ensure that families with credible fear claims appear before immigration judges in a timely manner without being detained. Families whose claims are rejected will be removed from the U.S. within 30 days, officials said.
New arrivals urged to turn themselves in to immigration officials
EL PASO, Texas — Outside a homeless shelter in downtown El Paso, where hundreds of migrants have been camping out in recent weeks, fear and confusion hung in the air.
Men, women and children gathered under white Red Cross tarps that offered shade from the brutal 90-degree weather, sitting on cots and pieces of flat cardboard topped with donated sheets.
“I really don’t know what to do. I’m so afraid to turn myself in and get deported ... I just want to be able to move forward and find my family,” said José, 41, who migrated from Venezuela and has been staying outside the Opportunity Center for the Homeless.
Here are new Biden immigration policies to expect as Title 42 ends
Here are some of the policies and requirements the Biden administration is using or has announced it plans to use as Title 42 ends tonight:
- Replace Title 42 with Title 8, the section of the U.S. law dealing with immigration and nationality that was used at the borders before the pandemic.
- Require anyone who wants to apply for asylum to make an appointment through the CBP One phone app. The number of appointments available per day through the app expands from about 800 to about 1,000, and appointments can be made 23 hours a day.
Why is there talk about ‘lifting’ Title 42?
The Biden administration had repeatedly sought to end the policy, but its plans were delayed by legal challenges from Republican states’ attorneys general. The pandemic waned, making the public health order that led to using Title 42 moot, and the Supreme Court canceled arguments in the case. Another administration effort to unwind the policy had been blocked by a federal judge in Louisiana.