The Texas state government is preparing for the prospective end of Title 42 and the resulting wave of additional illegal migration it would bring. Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has directed the Texas National Guard to install two miles of new border fencing near El Paso and is planning on adding more.
Title 42 is the border security public health order adopted by President Donald Trump at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. A federal court order provided that enforcement of Title 42 was to end last week. However, the Supreme Court agreed to take the matter up and ordered that Title 42 remain in place pending its final decision.
Reports had indicated that thousands of illegal migrants were huddled at the Mexican side of the southern border in anticipation of lifting Title 42. As many as 20,000 migrants were gathered near the El Paso ports of entry at the time.
Abbott has told reporters that border crossings near the two ports of entry where the new barbed-wire fencing has been installed have “plummeted.” A spokesperson for the Texas National Guard said this week that more fencing is expected to be installed before the end of Title 42 enforcement.
As the deadline for Title 42 enforcement approached in December, El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser reported that shelters on the Mexican side of the border were “completely full.” Inside El Paso, the city government opened up its convention center and some school buildings to house migrants who had already flooded the U.S. side of the border.
Reporting last week also indicated that a huge temporary tent structure was being set up near El Paso in anticipation of the wave of migrants expected when Title 42 ended. The tent facility is designed to operate as a processing center for “overflow” migrants. Security guards there told reporters that the tent could be used for “a few weeks, six months, we don’t know.”
The central processing center for migrants in El Paso has a standard capacity of only 1,400 persons, with a maximum number “breaking point” of 5,000, according to Deputy City Manager Mario D’Agostino.
Lesser added on Friday that the city is preparing for things to “get worse before it gets better.”