The Department of Homeland Security and Department of State are focused on solutions and have a robust plan to humanely manage the border through deterrence, enforcement, and diplomacy. With the support of the Department of Defense and multiple countries across the Western Hemisphere, DHS and State are implementing that plan within the constraints of a broken immigration system that Congress has repeatedly failed to fix, including by not acting on President Biden’s comprehensive immigration reform proposal, bipartisan legislation to protect Dreamers and farm workers, or repeated requests for additional resources.
At 11:59 PM ET on Thursday, May 11, the pandemic-era Title 42 public health order will lift because COVID-19 is no longer the threat it once was, and the public health emergency is ending. When the Title 42 order lifts, the United States will be strengthening its enforcement of long-standing Title 8 immigration authorities to expeditiously process and remove individuals who arrive at the U.S. border unlawfully and do not have a legal basis to remain. Individuals who cross into the United States at the southwest border without authorization or without having used a lawful pathway, and without having scheduled a time to arrive at a port of entry, will be presumed ineligible for asylum, absent an applicable exception. If removed, they will be barred from re-entry for at least five years and subject to potential criminal prosecution for repeated attempts to enter unlawfully.
The transition back to Title 8 processing for all individuals encountered at the border will be effective immediately when the Title 42 order lifts.
Today, as part of the comprehensive, multi-agency, multi-country plan to prepare for the return to processing migrants under Title 8 authorities, the Administration is announcing additional sweeping measures, including:
- Opening the First Regional Processing Centers to Direct Individuals to Lawful Pathways. The State Department plans to eventually open about 100 regional processing centers at key locations in the Western Hemisphere, and in the coming days will launch an online platform for individuals to make appointments to arrive at a center near them. Over 140 Federal personnel, including from DHS and State, and personnel from the International Organization on Migration and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees are being deployed to support these brick-and-mortar centers, which will serve to direct migrants to lawful pathways early in their journey and well before reaching the southwest border. Personnel at Regional Processing Centers will screen individuals for eligibility for U.S. refugee resettlement or other lawful pathways to the United States, Canada, and Spain.
- Deploying First Group of Additional Troops to Support Border Patrol. The initial 550 U.S. military personnel will be in place Wednesday, starting in El Paso, to begin supporting U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the southwest border. They will join the 2,500 National Guard troops already supporting CBP at the border. These additional troops will provide administrative support at CBP facilities, including data entry, warehousing assistance, and augmenting CBP surveillance and detection activities so that CBP agents and officers can get out in the field to secure and humanely manage the border. The remaining 1,000 troops will be announced soon and will include Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force personnel.
- Surging Additional Resources to Manage Increased Encounters. To humanely manage increased encounters, CBP and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are further expanding detention capacity, ramping up removal flights, and shifting agents and officers to high-priority regions along the southwest border. This week CBP opened two new holding facilities, and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is increasing its bed capacity to prepare for a potential increase in unaccompanied children. DHS also launched targeted enforcement operations in high-priority regions along the border, including El Paso, to quickly process migrants and place them in removal proceedings. DHS last week also announced over $250 million in additional assistance for communities receiving migrants.
- Expanding Access to the CBP One App. DHS will transition the CBP One App to a new appointment scheduling system on May 10, in order to enable improved access to this orderly process for seeking asylum into the United States. Under the new system, noncitizens will have additional time to request appointments and, if allocated an appointment, will have additional time to confirm that appointment. When allocating appointments, CBP will work to prioritize noncitizens who have waited the longest. This change will give noncitizens more time to navigate the appointment scheduling app, and therefore help ensure that noncitizens with limited connectivity have meaningful opportunities to schedule appointments to present themselves at southwest border ports. In addition, CBP will also increase the number of available appointments available each day.
- Issuing New Rules to Encourage Migrants to Use Lawful Pathways. The Biden-Harris Administration has led the largest expansion of lawful pathways for protection in the United States in decades. DHS and DOJ will be issuing a final rule to encourage individuals to use those lawful pathways instead of seeking to enter the United States between ports of entry without prior authorization along the southwest border. This rule is critical to creating an orderly process to seek protection in the United States at a time when Congress refuses to reform broken immigration laws or provide the necessary funds to hire sufficient asylum officers and immigration judges to process claims.
- Ramping Up Efforts to Counter Misinformation. Smugglers have stepped up their efforts to falsely claim the border is open in order to profit off vulnerable migrants. In response, the Department of State and DHS are stepping up their efforts to counter this misinformation, including by launching additional digital advertising campaigns in Central and South America, and in the Caribbean. This campaign will communicate clearly that individuals who unlawfully cross the U.S. southwest border will be presumed ineligible for asylum under new regulations, will be subject to expedited removal, and will be barred from reentry to the United States for at least five years, if ordered removed. The Department of State is also amplifying information about lawful migration pathways and efforts to address the root causes of migration. This information is broadcast via social media, newspapers, television, and radio in high-out-migration areas across the region.
The additional measures announced today build on actions the Department of State and DHS announced earlier this month to humanely manage the border through deterrence, enforcement, and diplomacy. This also builds on DHS’s work over the past year that was first outlined in the April 2022 DHS Plan for Southwest Border Security and Preparedness. Those actions included:
- Surging Panamanian, Colombian, and U.S. authorities to the Darien to improve security of this region and root out the criminal smuggling networks
- Doubling the number of refugees to be accepted from the Western Hemisphere
- Expanding and creating new family reunification programs
- Accepting up to 30,000 individuals per month from Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba, and Haiti as part of the expanded parole processes announced earlier this year
- Imposing consequences for migrants who fail to use lawful pathways, including a five-year ban on reentry and presumption of ineligibility under a new regulation
- Subjecting individuals to expedited removal, with consequences for those ordered removed, including a five-year bar on reentry
- Sending 1,500 troops to the border (bringing the total to 4,000 troops), while DHS is bringing on thousands of DHS contractors and non-uniformed employees to assist in administrative tasks to free up more of the agency’s 24,000 agents and officers to focus on frontline duties.
- Surging asylum officers to expedite processing times from months to days for recent border crossers. Holding Credible Fear Interviews for certain populations earlier on in the process, enabling DHS to quickly remove those who don’t have a legal basis to remain.
- Expanding CBP holding capacity by more than 50%.
- Dramatically scaling up the number of weekly removal flights, with the number of flights doubling or tripling for some countries.
- Securing repatriation agreements from countries in the Western Hemisphere, including diplomatic efforts with Mexico to quickly remove individuals who cannot be returned to their countries of origin.
- Stepping up joint Mexico-United States enforcement actions to counter-human smugglers and traffickers that are exploiting migrants.
- Mexico and the United States redoubling their development efforts that focus on people-to-people support.
Multiple federal agencies are working to manage the border using the tools they have. But, Congress needs to update our immigration laws. Congress also needs to provide the funds the administration requested, including the $4.9 billion for border security and management that Congress cut in half.