The immigration system is more in flux than ever, and legislators in border states are bracing for a surge in migrants entering the country now that COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted. Keep reading to learn more.
The End of COVID Restrictions at the Border
The Biden administration has announced that COVID restrictions for border crossers will be lifted officially on May 23. These restrictions, better known as Title 42 were put in place in 2020 to prevent mass border crossing that would threaten public safety during the height of the pandemic. This rule forced thousands of migrants to wait across the border in Mexico for their chance to cross and attend their hearings.
One of the busiest and most hectic entry points is the Rio Grande Valley crossing. In March of 2022 alone, more than 7,000 migrants crossed the border per day. These numbers added to an overall border crossing total of 220,000 – the highest number of crossings in over two decades. The Department of Homeland Security estimates that once Title 42 is lifted, the number of crossings to grow exponentially.
There are currently 170,000 migrants waiting to enter the country. Many of them have been waiting in camps for months for their chance to cross. For Texas officials, these numbers mean a surge in border crossings and a host of infrastructural challenges soon.
How Texas Will Be Affected
The Rio Grande Valley border crossing is one of the busiest in the United States. Gov. Abbott has already made his feelings on the matter known. He fears infrastructural collapse and further complications for his administration.
Others in the legislature are concerned that the already limited resources available to migrants will be drained quickly with no time to recover. Food, transportation, and shelter are crucial to survival, but many Texas towns and organizations simply do not have the resources to give.
Mayor Javier Villalobos of McAllen, TX is already preparing for the surge. As mayor of the largest city in the epicenter of the southwest border, Villalobos has seen surges before and shares the governor’s fears that their limited resources will not be enough. He has reached out to the White House for assistance with assimilation and is hoping to receive support from the Biden Administration.
He told the media, “If they need our help, then we need the funding. We are not in the business of immigration. We do not budget for immigration.”
Villalobos has since revealed that the city of McAllen has received $1.65 million in funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency back in April, but the city needs additional financing to support the upcoming surge.
In total, McAllen has received about $30 million in federal funding to help them accommodate the hundreds of thousands of migrants waiting to enter the United States. These funds are beneficial, but for Villalobos and the city, they may not be enough. McAllen officials have asked the Biden administration for more funds as the announcement of the end of Title 42 challenges the city's limited funds.
What This Means for Immigrants
For those waiting at the border and their families, the end of Title 42 means they will finally have the opportunity to pursue their American Dreams. Many have been stuck in makeshift tent cities with little resources like food and water to go around. These horrible conditions leave migrants exposed to disease, starvation, and violence. Crossing is about more than just getting into America – it is a way out from terrifying circumstances.
However, entering the country is not an easy feat, and many are unprepared for the legal and emotional toll the immigration process can take. During times like these, migrants need support and guidance from a trusted source.
At Nathan Christensen P.C., we believe in helping our clients achieve their American Dream. Our team of legal professionals is well versed in the law as it applies to immigration. When you need a trusted advisor and compassionate advocate, contact Nathan Christensen P.C.