United States intelligence officials expect an influx of over 170,000 undocumented migrants trying to enter the country when and if COVID-19 immigration policies permitting expedited expulsion end, Axios reported.
The SBCC, according to the outlet, is an entity that functions like a “war room,” coordinating responses to issues relating to the southwest border among different agencies
In a statement to Axios that did not confirm or dispute the outlet’s reporting, White House spokesman Vedant Patel said, “Of course the administration is doing our due diligence to prepare for potential changes at the border.”
“That is good government in action,” the statement from Patel further stated. “As always is the case this Administration is working every day to provide relief to immigrants, restore order, fairness and humanity to our immigration system and bring it into the 21st century.”
The Trump administration in 2020 instituted policies, citing authority from Title 42 of the U.S. code, that allowed authorities to send back undocumented migrants without granting them an opportunity to claim asylum.
Title 42 stipulates that if the Surgeon General “determines that by reason of the existence of any communicable disease in a foreign country there is serious danger of the introduction of such disease into the United States, and that this danger is so increased by the introduction of persons or property from such country … the Surgeon General, in accordance with regulations approved by the president, shall have the power to prohibit, in whole or in part, the introduction of persons and property from such countries or places as he shall designate in order to avert such danger, and for such period of time as he may deem necessary for such purpose.”
The Trump administration provisions, which were carried on by the Biden administration, drew the ire of multiple human rights and immigrant advocacy groups.
In 2020, the American Civil Liberties Union, Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, Oxfam America, RAICES, Texas Civil Rights Project, the ACLU of Texas and the ACLU of the District of Columbia took the Trump administration to court over Title 42 expulsions of refugee families.
The groups launched the lawsuit again in July 2021 against the Biden administration, seeking the policy’s termination after negotiations with the Biden administration did not give the groups their desired outcome.
With COVID-19 coming largely under control, the Biden administration might seek to end the temporary Trump administration measures, forcing border security and immigration officials to develop plans to deal with the aftermath of the policies being lifted, Axios reported.
According to Homeland Security intelligence, the outlet reported, around 25,000 migrants are already in Mexico hoping to make the crossing into the United States once Title 42 expires.
An email from DHS Deputy Secretary John Tien, seen by Axios, requested the agency’s employees “to consider stepping forward to support the DHS Volunteer Force.”
The email referred to the big numbers of migrants at the southwest border and requested help for U.S. Customs and Border Protection and assistance with data entry, the outlet reported.
According to Axios, in internal discussions, authorities have expressed concerns that human trafficking networks operating in Mexico and Central America will take advantage of the end of Title 42 restrictions to “generate a mass migration event.”
Senior Biden administration officials in several agencies have, according to Axios, been conducting meetings on developing a plan, reportedly called the “Southwest Border Mass Irregular Migration Contingency Plan,” to deal with the expected surge.
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