(NewsNation) — Any day now, Americans could learn the fate of a controversial health policy that allows the deportation of migrants from the U.S. It’s called Title 42, and it’s in the hands of a federal judge in Louisiana.
While most border officials NewsNation has spoken to are hoping the judge will at the very least extend the policy, many are already preparing for Title 42 to be gone, and for a flood of migrants surging over the border as a result.
On the water and spread out along the Rio Grande river bank, dozens of Texas State troopers, National Guardsmen and Border Patrol agents stand ready as a show of force.
“We’re just trying to do these exercises as a deterrence factor. That way, people don’t cross into the United States,” Erik Estrada with Texas DPS said.
Estrada says they are working with Mexican law enforcement to gear up for a potentially massive surge of migrants Monday should Title 42 be lifted.
Just this past month, a record 234,088 migrants were encountered at the southern border, averaging out to nearly 8,000 a day. The Department of Homeland Security estimates those numbers could potentially more than double if the health measure expires.
The Biden administration emphasizes that even without Title 42, the rule of law will still be enforced.
Tuesday, a plane full of migrants who illegally crossed into the U.S. took off out of South Texas on a return trip to Guatemala. Even so, some working at the border fear they’ll be overwhelmed.
McAllen Mayor Javier VillaLobos acknowledges that Title 42 is not a permanent solution and that an overhaul of immigration policy is needed. But he doesn’t see that happening due to the political back and forth.
“I used to say, look, we want people, we want the president, vice president, to come down and see the issues. But now we’re at a point where I don’t even think I want the president or the vice president or anybody coming over and taking photo ops. I want him to go to Washington, sit down and take care of business,” the mayor said.
The federal judge in Louisiana has alluded to keeping Title 42 in place, at least in a temporary manner, but says that he will hand down a final ruling sometime before the deadline Monday.