Title 42 could end soon. Are border agents ready?

On Balance with Leland Vittert

(NewsNation) — An independent journalist is reporting there could soon be a change in border policy that may allow more undocumented migrants to stay in the United States.

Title 42 authority gives the federal government the power to expel migrants to prevent the spread of pandemics such as COVID-19. However, with pandemic numbers low, some expect the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to drop the Title 42 declaration in the coming weeks. It was first enacted during the Trump administration.

The United Nations refugee agency has long called for the U.S. government to end the use of Title 42 at the border. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said Saturday that he was perplexed why the CDC continues “this draconian policy at the border” amid strong signs of pandemic recovery.

But some say it’s one of the keys to turning migrants around, and add that the record numbers of encounters will go up if word spreads the country is no longer using it.

NewsNation host Leland Vittert discussed the situation with Ali Bradley, an independent journalist covering the border, on Thursday’s edition of “On Balance with Leland Vittert.”

Vittert: Ali, what are your sources saying about Title 42?

Bradley: I just talked to an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement source actually telling me that they’re getting emails and requests for contingency plans. How many beds are available? How many vans are there out there? What is the situation going to look like should this kind of levee break, if you will? I mean, you talked about Title 42 going away here and that’s exactly what we’re discussing, and we’ve already expelled that last month — 91,000 people went back under Title 42. We’ve already expelled more people under Title 42 than an average year of encounters, Leland. So that’s what we’re looking at. And I asked sheriffs along the border: What does this mean? Is their a fear with this? Are you guys prepared? They say this will completely annihilate them; they already don’t have the resources to handle this influx and people. And so if these people are coming in, and they are not removed quickly, and they end up in these facilities, where are we going to put them? Where are they going to go? So that is something that is really plaguing all of these law enforcement individuals along the southern border right now.

Vittert: How are we to understand that this will work? You’ve done some great reporting that Border Patrol is so overwhelmed at this point that they are no longer patrol, they are processors. You found all the people who are being dropped off at bus stations and airports with plane tickets, who 24 hours later cross the Rio Grande illegally. You start throwing an extra 100,000 people a month at the already overwhelmed Border Patrol, what do they do?

Bradley: Right now it’s kind of like a game of musical chairs who has a facility right now that can house these people. We saw this during Del Rio, they move people from facility to facility in order to allow for processing because they can’t house these people. That’s why 15,000 people wound up underneath the bridge in Del Rio; they had nowhere to put them. Then we saw them start to transport them into different facilities so that they could be processed. But they really don’t have a plan in place. As far as I know, they’re talking about contingency plans as we speak, we expect for this report to come out any day now. And they all do anticipate for this to end, every single law enforcement individual that I’ve talked to, does anticipate Title 42 to end at the end of this month.

Vittert: Alright, so Title 42 ends, you get this huge flood of migrants coming over, are any of your sources saying that the Biden administration is upping resources or giving them more powers or being stronger about remain in Mexico to make up for the surge that’s coming.

Bradley: You know, what’s really interesting is after we saw the [Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz] and [Homeland Security Secretary] Alejandro Mayorkas down here along the border, they were talking about getting more agents back out in the field, I’m sure you remember that? Well, we saw that very briefly. And then those numbers started cranking back up, and they pulled people again for processing. So once again, we don’t have the adequate numbers of agents in the field to be able to patrol the border and man that border. Now when you’re looking at what are they going to put into place, what is going on and how are they really going to move all these parts around? You know, these these law enforcement individuals right now? Gosh, Leland, we know that they’re strapped, they’re maxed out, they’re saying, their cities and their counties are safe, but there are people are streaming in from all different angles. And if you cannot process them, what are you going to do?

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