(NewsNation) — Hours before the Supreme Court required the pandemic immigration order known as Title 42 to stay in place, NewsNation correspondents witnessed a steady stream of people trying to cross illegally.
24 year old Igor — a Russian citizen who says he fled his country to avoid the draft — is one of them. He still hopes to apply for asylum and may be able to because customs and border protection has allowed more Russians to be exempt from Title 42.
“We are using this big opportunity to receive political asylum in United States. Thank you Joseph Biden for this opportunity. God bless you,” Igor said to NewsNation.
Title 42 is used most to expel migrants from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. The process, however, largely depends on whether the migrants’ countries of origin agree to take them back.
While the Biden administration has argued for an end to Title 42, it has estimated that as many as 18,000 migrants would enter the country each day once the rule is lifted.
In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to keep the pandemic-era limits on immigration in place indefinitely, President Biden vowed to continue to keep the restrictions in place.
Many Republican-led states and border communities hope keeping Title 42 in place will help manage desperately stretched resources, leading to a humanitarian crisis.
“We’ve been limited by the courts because we can not enforce anything to do with human smuggling, period,” Yuma County Sheriff Leon Wilmot said.
“The last couple of months, we’ve been especially busy,” the shelter’s founder, Dr. Myron Glick, said to NewsNation.
Glick worries extending Title 42 will lead migrants to take even more dangerous routes to try to avoid expulsion.
“We hear stories. It’s not unusual for us to take care of families whose children have drowned as they crossed the river. That is just the suffering that people are going through and this law exacerbates that suffering,” Glick said.
The Supreme Court expects to hold arguments in a larger case over whether Republican-led states can intervene in Title 42 in February. A decision would likely be announced after June.