(NewsNation) — Overworked and overwhelmed: Agents at the U.S.-Mexico border say morale is at an all-time low as they face unprecedented numbers of migrants, a number that could more than double next month.
The month of March was as busy as it gets on the border, with more than 220,000 migrant encounters tallied. If Title 42, the COVID provision used to expel incoming migrants before they can apply for asylum, expires next month, law enforcement believe they could see more than 18,000 migrant encounters a day. That comes out to more than half a million per month.
The expected surge comes as Border Patrol agents say morale has never been lower.
Hector Garza with the National Border Patrol Council says agents feel hampered and unable to adequately carry out their duty, given how overwhelming the situation is at this time.
“We thought that morale was very, very bad under President Barack Obama. Right now, it’s actually way worse,” Garza said.
While some Democrats have come out against removing Title 42, President Joe Biden said Thursday that the issue is still up in the air.
“As a matter of principle, we want to be able to be in a position where if in fact, it is strongly concluded by the scientists that we need Title 42, that we’d be able to do that. But there has been no decision on extending Title 42,” Biden said.
Should Title 42 go away, Garza says it will effectively become a big game of catch-and-release on the border, meaning there would be no consequences handed down for making a run for American soil. And he believes the immigration system won’t be able to handle it.
“That means that people will keep coming to the U.S., we will keep releasing them into the country and we’ll see the drug cartels being able to continue smuggling their dangerous drugs and also smuggling those special interest aliens and even potential terrorists,” Garza said.
The main sentiment heard from law enforcement is that if Title 42 is repealed, a suitable measure must replace it. But if that doesn’t happen, they believe that the courts and the jails simply won’t be able to handle the surge.