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WASHINGTON — What, them worry?

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Thursday insisted that the Biden administration — which has already seen historic numbers of migrants cross the southern border with Title 42 in place — is “taking the steps to prepare” for an anticipated surge next week when the restricitive COVID-19 policy ends.

“Look, what the American people should know is that we have taken the steps, we are taking the steps to prepare for when Title 42 is lifted next week,” Jean-Pierre said at her regular press briefing, adding, “this is an administration that has taken this very, very seriously.”

Thousands of migrants from countries around the world are expected to pour across the southern border on Wednesday when the Title 42 policy ends pursuant to a court ruling in a case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Washington Post report said in March that without Title 42, the Southern border could see as many as 18,000 people cross the border per day — almost triple current levels as people flee failing states in Colombia, Venezuela and other areas of central and South America.

Even before the end of Title 42, illegal border crossings broke records, which critics have blamed on relaxed border enforcement and Biden’s decision to end a policy of requiring migrants to remain in Mexico to await court ruling on their asylum claims.

Hundreds of migrants, many of them from Nicaragua, wait at a border crossing in El Paso, Texas, on Dec. 12, 2022.
Hundreds of migrants, many of them from Nicaragua, wait at a border crossing in El Paso, Texas, on Dec. 12, 2022.
REUTERS

Nearly 2.4 million people were detained after crossing illegally into the US in fiscal 2022, which ended Sept. 30 — an increase from 1.7 million in fiscal 2021, fewer than 500,000 in fiscal 2020 and nearly 1 million in fiscal 2019. Those figures do not include migrants who evaded detection.

Still, Jean-Pierre insisted, “We are required by the court to lift Title 42 and we plan to comply with that order. But Title 42 or not, every individual encountered at the border is screened and processed by Border Patrol agents before they are placed in removal proceedings.”

“The Department of Homeland Security has been on top of this. We are prepared. We are ready to do this in a humane way and in a safe way. And so it is something that the president has been working on since day one of his administration.”

Homeland Security Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas said the administration will process migrants using Title 8 after Title 42 is rescinded.
AFP via Getty Images

Nineteen Republican-led states are asking a federal appeals court in DC to leave the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-issued rules in effect, allowing for the rapid deportation of most people who illegally cross the border.

Even before the end of Title 42, illegal border crossings broke records, which critics blame on relaxed border enforcement and Biden’s decision to end a policy of requiring migrants to remain in Mexico to await court ruling on their asylum claims.

Nearly 2.4 million people were detained after crossing illegally into the US in fiscal 2022, which ended Sept. 30 — an increase from 1.7 million in fiscal 2021, fewer than 500,000 in fiscal 2020 and nearly 1 million in fiscal 2019. Those figures do not include migrants who evaded detection.

Migrants wait to get into a U.S. government bus after crossing the border from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, to El Paso, Monday, Dec. 12, 2022.
Migrants wait to get into a US government bus after crossing the border from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, to El Paso, Monday, Dec. 12, 2022.
AP

When Title 42 ends next week, most migrants who cross the border and apply for asylum likely will be released as backlogged US courts evaluate their claims of persecution.

The Biden administration already relaxed enforcement of Title 42, which was strictly enforced in 2020 during the Trump administration. When Biden took office, he exempted unaccompanied children from rapid deportation under the rule and over time an increasing number of families and single adults have been allowed to remain in the US.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a Tuesday release, “Once the Title 42 order is no longer in place, DHS will process individuals encountered at the border without proper travel documents using its longstanding Title 8 authorities, which provide for meaningful consequences, including barring individuals who are removed from re-entry for five years. These consequences include placing individuals in expedited removal, which allows DHS to quickly repatriate individuals who do not have a legal basis to stay in the United States.”

Mayorkas said that criminal cartels that effectively control crossing points on the border are spreading “misinformation” that anyone who crosses the border will be allowed to stay in the US, when in fact they may ultimately be ordered to leave the country.

“We know that smugglers will spread misinformation to take advantage of vulnerable migrants. Let me be clear: Title 42 or not, those unable to establish a legal basis to remain in the United States will be removed,” Mayorkas said.

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