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Brooks County officials concerned with ending of Title 42

Posted at 6:56 PM, Apr 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-20 19:56:40-04

FALFURRIAS, Texas — The Biden Administration is preparing to end Title 42, a law preventing immigrants from crossing into the U.S because of COVID-19.

Many southern Texas counties are preparing for what happens after Title 42.

“There’s going to be a surge,” Brooks County Judge Eric Ramos said.

Title 42 has been in place since the pandemic began in March 2020. Now more people will be entering the country at the southern border and Brooks County officials are concerned.

“Our resources are already dedicated quite a bit to the immigrant issue," said Ramos. "I know the surge, we’re expecting it, but I would say in the last two weeks, we’ve already started to see an increase in the activity.”

The ending of Title 42 will allow more immigrants to legally enter, but Ramos’ concern is with an uptick in undocumented immigrants. He said the county could expect up to 300 arrests per month when the law ends.

Sheriff Urbino “Benny” Martinez said they’ll have to rely heavily on border patrol.

“Currently, we have a little collaboration going on between us and coastal bend sheriffs. So, we alert each other, right. And we help each other out in time of need.”

Both Ramos and Martinez said they need more resources to combat the impending surge of migrants.

Ramos said the county doesn't provide any resources like transportation or shelter for immigrants who enter Brooks County legally. Much of what they have will go towards supporting the county jail. Ramos said at any point, the jail is a quarter or a third filled with undocumented immigrants.

“We’re talking sometimes having as much as eight, nine, 10," said Ramos. "So, you’re talking about a $700 chunk a day. And you multiple that times seven and then times 30 and then times 12. It adds up quite a bit.”

“Currently, our jails are full," Martinez said. "And we’re going to have to branch them out from now to different agencies. That’s going to cost a lot more than what we’ll be expecting.”

April 1, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Title 42 was no longer needed. Soon after, President Biden made his announcement. Title 42 is set to end May 23.

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