CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The end of Title 42 is less than 24 hours away and border cities like McAllen are already feeling the potential for a huge immigration surge.
Title 42, passed in 2020 by the Trump administration, prevented any migrants from entering the country via the Mexican and Canada borders due to the preventive measures of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was set to expire March 11, 2023.
However, even after Title 42 expires, migrants who enter the country illegally will be processed under Title 8, which will add on penalties for illegal entry.
McAllen Mayor Javier Villalobos said the city has been — and currently still is — in a state of emergency for the past two years.
“My understanding is that by today we will have about approximately, 2,000 in Anzalduas already and that is even before Title 42 has even been lifted,” he said.
The city of McAllen recently opened the Anzalduas overflow shelter to accommodate the influx of migrants but it is currently closed off to the public.
Sister Norma Pimentel with Catholic Charities said that over the last 10 years, they have never had to deal with a pandemic-era policy ending, making consequences of Title 42 a first for the organization to work with.
“We have already started," Sister Pimentel said. "All this past week, (the) number (has been) increasing. People (are) crossing already and Border Patrol (is) releasing higher numbers to us and we have been able to manage because we have already done this for the past 10 years”
Mayor Villalobos said many of the migrants coming through McAllen do not want to stay on the border, but the process of transporting them will be tricky.
"(It's) not just capacity," he said. "You have logistics you have to transport them out. We need buses, airplanes, all those types of stuff."
Sister Pimentel said that for now she is reaching out to other parishes in the area to help house these migrants coming to the U.S.
Officials are encouraging migrants to seek asylum through their CBP One app.
This is a developing story, KRIS 6 News will keep updating as more information comes in.
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