Five border headlines that will have an impact on 2023

Immigration

Activists gather near and sit on newly installed shipping containers along the border creating a wall between the United States and Mexico in San Rafael Valley, Ariz., Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022. Work crews are steadily erecting hundreds of double-stacked shipping containers along the rugged east end of Arizona’s boundary with Mexico as Republican Gov. Doug Ducey makes a bold show of border enforcement even as he prepares to step aside next month for Democratic Governor-elect Katie Hobbs. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(NewsNation) — As leaders in border communities react to changing news about Title 42 — a public health policy that limited border crossings — several politicians have taken matters in to their own hands.

Arizona’s governor used shipping containers to fill gaps in the border wall, while states including Texas and Florida have shipped migrants to non-border states to send a message.

Here’s a look at five events from 2022 that will continue to impact life at the border in the new year.

Closing gaps on the border

Blocking off parts of the border with a wall is no new argument, but in Arizona, it took on a new image with a wall of shipping containers, as ordered by Gov. Doug Ducey.

The U.S. government sued Ducey and the state earlier this month over the placement of shipping containers as a barrier on the border with Mexico.

The lawsuit claims the project is trespassing on federal lands. Last week, Duecy agreed to dismantle the wall, following the lawsuit.

The complaint was filed in U.S. District Court just weeks before Arizona’s Republican governor will be replaced by Democratic Gov.-elect Katie Hobbs, who said she opposes the construction.

The argument for a wall is likely not going away in 2023.

Supporters say a finished wall is necessary to streamline border crossings and make Border Patrol more effective, but critics say it’s dangerous for people and the environment.

Those opposed to construction say it threatens to harm the environment, presents a public safety risk, and violates federal law.

When he agreed to dismantle the container wall, Ducey did so while renewing his request to the U.S. government to say when it will fill any remaining gaps in the permanent border wall as it announced it would a year ago.

The uncertain future of Title 42

Title 42, the pandemic-era policy that allowed limits on border crossings, was slated to expire Dec. 21, but a last-minute court opinion clouded the policy’s future. On Dec. 27, the Supreme Court handed down a ruling that would keep the policy in place indefinitely.

The federal government opposed an effort by some conservative-leaning states to keep Title 42 in place, but hours before they were about to lift, the Biden administration asked the Supreme Court not to remove them before Christmas.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court ruled to extend the policy and keep its limitations in place.

The COVID-19 era public health policy allowed officials to turn away migrants at the border as a public health measure.

Awaiting a final decision, the Texas National Guard deployed members on the bank of the Rio Grande, which had become a popular crossing point for migrants.

Guard members used razor wire to cordon off a gap in the border fence while announcing over a loudspeaker in Spanish that it was illegal to cross there.

Title 42 was invoked under former President Donald Trump in March 2020. Border Patrol has used the policy to turn away more than 1 million people at the nation’s land crossings since then.

Border officials have warned of a potentially unmanageable influx of migrant arrivals if Title 42 were lifted.

Busing migrants across state lines

This year, governors in several Republican-led border states transported migrants to non-border states and so-called sanctuary cities to make a point about President Joe Biden’s immigration practices.

The busing began in spring when Texas’ Republican Gov. Greg Abbott and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced plans to send busloads of migrants to Washington, D.C., and New York City in response to Biden’s decision to lift a pandemic-era emergency health order that restricted migrant entry numbers. Chicago was later added to the list of destinations.

As of mid-December, Abbott had bused more than 14,000 migrants to Washington, D.C., Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York City.

Recently re-elected Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis also transported migrants across state lines.

federal lawsuit filed in September accused DeSantis of acting in “inhumane and repugnant conduct” when he arranged to have immigrants flown to Martha’s Vineyard.

They were told they were going to Boston or Washington, D.C., but instead were dropped off in Martha’s Vineyard, according to the suit.

D.C. has received the most from the Lone Star State at about 8,200, followed by New York City with more than 3,200. Abbott said Chicago received more than 920 migrants as part of the operation.

Arizona’s new Democratic governor

Newly elected Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs is set to replace Arizona’s Republic Gov. Doug Ducey in January.

Hobbs won the seat over Republican Kari Lake – a 2020 election denier and former TV journalist who was in the good graces of former President Donald Trump.

Decision Desk HQ called the race for NewsNation with a margin of just more than 20,000 votes.

Hobbs serves as the current Secretary of State for Arizona and became a national figure during the 2020 election when she defended the results after Trump lost the state by narrow margins.

Hobbs has said it would be irresponsible to lift Title 42 without a clear plan in place and has vowed to boost funding for sheriff’s and local law enforcement to help at the border when she takes office.

Shelters at capacity as crossings overwhelm El Paso

While the status of Title 42 hung in the balance, shelters in El Paso filled to capacity and the sector’s Border Patrol facility reached its limit.

More than 5,600 migrants remained in Border Patrol custody in mid-December. The facility is suited to hold just 3,000 people.

The U.S. Border Patrol’s acting El Paso Sector Chief Peter Jaquez said there were on average about 2,400 daily migrant encounters involving people crossing into the area during the week ending Dec. 17.

Some people who enter the U.S. through the nation’s southern border have a family member or sponsor to turn to for help. But as shelters filled in December, some spent their days on the streets in near-freezing conditions. 

Customs and Border Patrol officials warned that ending Title 42 could lead to a further influx of migrant arrivals.

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