On Friday, the first day since Title 42 was repealed, immigrants crossing the border without documents were turned away, two U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials told NBC News.
Officials said U.S. Customs and Border Protection stopped 7,500 to 8,000 undocumented immigrants Friday, up from about 11,000 on Tuesday and Wednesday and 10,000 on Thursday.
These numbers include immigrants who cross illegally between ports of entry — more than 7,000 of them on Friday — and those who show up legally at ports of entry without proper entry documents.
Covid-19 restrictions that allowed immigration officials to quickly deport migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border expired Thursday at 11:59 p.m. ET, introducing tougher policies for asylum seekers. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorgas said in a statement that those using a legal route to cross the border “will be considered ineligible for asylum.”
He said agents are prepared to humanely process and remove people who are not legally allowed to be in the United States. “The border is not open,” he said earlier this week. “Those who do not use the legal means available to enter the United States now face severe consequences.”
When the coronavirus pandemic broke out, former President Donald Trump used Title 42 as a way to slow the spread of Covid, but its implementation allowed the Trump administration to quickly deport immigrants. Consider them a refuge. It continued under the Biden administration, which has repeatedly tried to end it, but its plans have been delayed by legal challenges from Republican states’ attorneys general.
The epidemic subsided, creating the public health mandate that led to the use of Title 42, and the US Supreme Court overturned the arguments in the case. Another administration attempt to repeal the policy was blocked by a federal judge in Louisiana.
With that repeal, the government reverted to the previous immigration law, which falls under Title 8 of the US federal statutes.
While border officials can remove people from the country more quickly under Title 42 because they can grant asylum, immigrants are not assessed the penalties they now face under Title 8: one of them faces up to two years in prison if they re-enter the country. – Enters the country illegally after removal or deportation. Also, deportees are barred from re-entering the country even by law for five years. If caught re-entering they face criminal charges, prison terms and lengthy re-entry bans.