SAN ANTONIO – The Biden Administration and the United States border communities are preparing for the end of the pandemic era policy Title 42 that is set to expire on Thursday night.
Congressman Henry Cuellar represents the 28th District in South Texas. The district covers a large portion of the southern U.S./Mexico border just north of Laredo to Rio Grande City.
Cuellar said the Department of Homeland Security is taking action ahead of Title 42 expiring late Thursday night. The Biden administration is sending 1,500 troops to the border from the Department of Defense between El Paso and Brownsville.
Soldiers will assist agents with data entry, transportation and other operational needs. However, soldiers will not detain, stop or process migrants and asylum seekers. Under federal law, the military cannot carry out civilian law enforcement, which includes immigration enforcement.
“They’ll carry their rifles, but it’s only for defense. They are not going to be Border Patrol. They don’t have law enforcement authority,” Cuellar said.
Leaders along the border are anticipating a big strain on their resources.The Mayor of Laredo is not expecting a big spike in illegal crossings, but instead a big spike in migrant transfers to his city.
“We will get all the referrals from all the other places to process them here. Laredo has limited resources. We have two NGOs that can hold about 1,500 persons, but we’re anticipating many more will come,” Laredo Mayor, Dr. Victor Trevino said.
In an effort to control the flow of migrants arriving at the Southwest border, beginning Thursday the Biden administration will start denying asylum to migrants who cross illegally. The penalty of crossing illegally could lead to felony charges and barred admission to the U.S. for five years.