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Busing migrants, Title 42: What’s happening at the border?

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at a news conference in Austin, Texas on June 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

(NewsNation) — The Supreme Court on Monday temporarily halted an order that would end Title 42. The White House now has until Tuesday to file its response.

The COVID-19 era public health policy allowed officials to turn away migrants at the border as a public health measure. Monday’s order prompted a request on behalf of GOP-led states.

A federal appeals court declined to delay Title 42’s end last week.

Officials had been preparing for the COVID-19 era public health policy to come to a close.

The City of El Paso declared a state of emergency on Saturday as the region struggles to navigate a surge of migrants coming over the nation’s southwest border.

Meanwhile, Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has transported thousands of migrants to other states to underscore both the humanitarian and community struggles that are playing out at the border.

Title 42 allowed officials to turn away migrants at the border in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19. With that measure set to end Wednesday, here’s a summary of some of the actions impacting the border now:

El Paso’s state of emergency

“We’ve been talking all day about what’s the best way to make sure that everyone is safe,” Mayor Oscar Leeser said after declaring a state of emergency. “I said from the beginning that I would call it when either the asylum seekers or our community were not safe, and I really believe today our asylum seekers are not safe as we have hundreds and hundreds on the street.”

The declaration will allow the city to access additional resources after Title 42 expulsions end, the El Paso Times reported.

Over the summer, the city stepped in and provided resources and transportation. The city spent more than $9 million over the course of four months busing migrants, providing shelter and opening welcome centers.

Now, El Paso is looking to the federal government to take the lead.

Abbott, who was recently re-elected as the governor of Texas, has been critical of cities he says are doing “too much” to help migrants. Abbott has announced plans to investigate the nongovernmental organizations that are assisting migrants, after reports that the NGOs were helping transport migrants across the southern border.

Title 42

Title 42 allowed U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents to turn away migrants with the goal of preventing the spread of COVID-19.

A federal judge on blocked the COVID-19 pandemic-era public health policy last month. That same judge later issued an order granting a stay — that is, a period of time before his previous order takes effect

DHS then had until Dec. 21 to transition away from Title 42 and send additional resources to the border.

The department’s approach for Venezuelans, which expanded Title 42 along with a program that allowed for 24,000 Venezuelans to enter the country, had been underway for just a few weeks, NewsNation partner The Hill reported.

President Joe Biden’s administration has used Title 42 to turn away migrants more than 2.5 million times at the border since 2020, according to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

The policy’s end comes as El Paso experiences an overwhelming influx of migrant crossings that have outpaced shelter space.

Last week, more than 5,600 migrants remained in Border Patrol custody — in a facility suited to hold just 3,000 people. Customs and Border Patrol officials have warned that ending Title 42 could lead to a further influx of migrant arrivals.

Busing migrants  

So far, Abbott’s office has bussed more than 14,000 migrants to Washington, D.C., Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York City.

Recently re-elected Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis also has a history of transporting migrants across state lines.

A 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.

The migrants who filed the suit say they were given $10 McDonald’s gift certificates and were promised that if they boarded airplanes to other states, they would be met with jobs, housing, educational opportunities and other assistance.

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.

The busing began in spring when 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.

The state of Texas has sent more than 12,000 migrants from the southern border to Democrat-led sanctuary cities, according to Abbott.

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.


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