Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas marked the end of the Title 42 immigration policy by again warning migrants that “the border is not open.”
“Don’t believe the lies of smugglers. The border is not open,” he said a minute before midnight on Thursday, echoing his calls throughout the week to prepare for lifting the policy.
The US is bracing for an influx of migrants as Title 42, a COVID-era policy that allows for the swift deportation of asylum seekers, is set to expire at midnight. The rule was implemented in the early stages of the pandemic under the Trump administration and President Biden has kept it in place.
“Starting tonight, people who arrive at the border without using a lawful channel will be considered ineligible for asylum,” the secretary said in his statement.
Mayorkas earlier Thursday outlined plans to respond to the end of Title 42 and reiterated in his statement that there will be 24,000 Border Patrol agents and border officials, thousands of troops and contractors, and more than a thousands of asylum officers.
“We are willing to humanely process and remove people who do not have a legal basis to remain in the US,” he said.
“People who do not use available lawful channels to enter the US now face tougher consequences, including a minimum five-year re-entry ban and potential criminal prosecution,” added the secretary. “Together with our partners across the federal government and the Western Hemisphere, we are ready for this transition.”
On Thursday, House Republicans passed legislation to dismantle the border, including ending former President Trump’s border wall and restricting access to asylum.
The new measures have been criticized by advocates as the most extreme provisions recently seriously considered by the House.
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