EL PASO, TX (NewsNation) — As states along the U.S. southern border prepare for the end of a pandemic-era border policy, federal agents are urging migrants to turn themselves in to immigration authorities.
Title 42 is set to expire just before midnight on Thursday, and a surge of migrants and asylum seekers is expected to flood cities like El Paso, which are already overwhelmed with an influx of migrants.
Outside Sacred Heart Church on Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security conducted an enforcement operation handing out flyers to over 2,000 migrants, who’ve been sleeping on the sidewalks after illegally crossing into the U.S., encouraging them to turn themselves in to receive services like temporary shelter.
Hundreds of them turned themselves in for processing — the majority of them were single males from Venezuela.
“We have been here for 15 days. I am in line to get the permit so I can work,” a migrant from Venezuela told NewsNation.
“I have only been here for four days. We were hidden since we were afraid they would grab us. Right now they informed us that they would give us our permits if we came here,” another migrant said.
While a large majority of migrants turned themselves in for processing and moved to another area, hundreds are still waiting on the city’s streets.
The problem is expected to get worst as it’s estimated that up to 13,000 migrants per day could cross the border following Title 42’s end.
Some 150,000 people, mostly from Central and South America, are camping out in tents and large cardboard boxes in Mexico, hoping to cross into the U.S. as soon as possible, according to data gathered by NewsNation.
Meanwhile, some have said the move appears to contradict the message that the Biden administration sent to migrants that they must apply for asylum from another county and get a sponsor and papers before trying to enter the U.S. and Border Patrol’s policy of ejecting migrants who have entered the county illegally.
Border agents in the El Paso Sector have apprehended more than 265,000 migrants since October. That’s about 1,400 apprehensions per day.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has deployed a tactical border force to assist local authorities with the large influx of migrants.