26m ago / 7:58 PM UTC
El Paso official: “We’re as prepared as can be”
El Paso County’s migrant processing center has scaled up operations in preparation for the end of Title 42 tonight at midnight.
Starting tomorrow, the Migrant Support Services Center will be able to process 800 people who have recently crossed the border per day, up from the current 650, Irene Valenzuela, the executive director of the county of El Paso’s Community Services Department, told NBC News.
Migrants arrive at the center after being processed by immigration authorities, with the goal of making travel arrangements to continue on their journeys. Since October, the services center has processed some 34,000 people, with about 400 of those needing temporary shelter in El Paso, she said.
Valenzuela said the hope is that scaling up to 800 people a day — or possibly more, if needed — can help ease the pressure on nongovernmental organizations that shelter migrants. In recent weeks, up to 3,300 people were staying in the area outside a local church and homeless shelter because shelter services were at capacity.
The county is still preparing for a potential increase of thousands of people coming to El Paso after Title 42 lifts. “The systems are in place to be able to prepare for migrants to come into our community,” Valenzuela said. “Any system can break if we get an extreme amount of volume coming in that we were not anticipating.”
“We’re as prepared as we can be,” she said. “And we’ll see how all these new rules and policies will impact that.”
41m ago / 7:44 PM UTC
NYCLU sues two counties trying to block migrants
The New York Civil Liberties Union, a civil rights nonprofit, filed a federal lawsuit Thursday against Rockland and Orange counties for attempting to block migrants who want to relocate out of New York City.
The legal action comes after Rockland County successfully sued the city for trying to establish temporary shelters for hundreds of migrants in hotels outside of city boundaries.
Rockland County was granted a temporary restraining order against the city late Tuesday, while Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus issued an executive order Wednesday directing all hotels and motels not to accept migrants or asylum-seekers.
Amy Belsher, the NYCLU’s director of immigrants’ rights litigation, said those orders “egregiously” violate constitutional clauses.
“Migrants have every right to travel and reside anywhere in New York, free of xenophobic harassment and discrimination,” Belsher said in a statement. “People are not political pawns.”
The two counties are located directly north of the New Jersey and New York border.
57m ago / 7:27 PM UTC
A San Antonio charity is preparing room
SAN ANTONIO — Catholic Charities in San Antonio is preparing for a potential arrival of people from the border as Title 42 is expected to come to an end at midnight. The charity has increased its capacity, securing hotel rooms in case its shelter — which had about 650 people in it Thursday afternoon — fills up, said Antonio Fernandez, president and CEO of the organization.
Fernandez has overseen the sheltering of many people through different migration events, helping families separated during the Trump administration and assisting Afghan refugees, as well as more recent groups of migrants. An immigrant himself, Fernandez said he has heard too many stories about the suffering and loss of those who have left their countries to come to the U.S.
“They are asking me, ‘When do I work? How do I do this? When am I going to be able to do this?’ We are having a lot of people in the country and they are asking how they can take care of themselves,” he said. Fernandez said he could help Afghan refugees find work and housing, but he can’t do the same for the more recent asylum-seekers who must await the processing of their applications before working.
2h ago / 6:37 PM UTC
Scenes from the border
2h ago / 6:11 PM UTC
3h ago / 5:44 PM UTC
Hispanic caucus chair calls GOP border bill a ‘stunt’
Rep. Nanette Barragán, D-Calif., chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, doubled down on her Democratic colleagues’ criticism of the House Republicans’ bill to address immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border.
“This bill is an adoption of the failed Trump-era policies that call for the criminalization of the right to seek asylum,” Barragán said during a press conference.
Barragán argued that the bill, which would hire and train 22,000 Border Patrol agents as well as require the Homeland Security secretary to resume construction of the border wall, is a “political stunt.”
“This bill falls so short, so short, on who we are as a nation and as part of an agenda that’s more than just unconstitutional — it’s a political stunt,” she said. “It’s anti-immigrant. It’s anti Latino, and it’s anti American. It’s time for a comprehensive immigration reform that’s humane, that expands legal pathways for migration, protects your dreamers and addresses the root causes of migration.”
3h ago / 5:35 PM UTC
Florida sues U.S. over migrant release plan
The state of Florida is suing the U.S. over the Biden administration’s plan to begin releasing some migrants into the country without court dates or the ability to track them, according to court filings.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody filed an emergency motion Thursday, seeking a temporary restraining order to halt the implementation of the policy, which she argues is “materially identical” to another one blocked by a federal judge earlier this year.
The defendants in the suit are the United States of America, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas and U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz. The agencies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
U.S. District Judge T. Kent Wetherell II gave the defendants until 4 p.m. ET Thursday to respond so the court could rule on the motion before Title 42 ends at midnight.
NBC News first reported the plan Wednesday. The new policy would release some migrants on “parole” with a notice to report to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement office but without enrolling them in the program.
3h ago / 5:12 PM UTC
Over 10 days at checkpoints, one man pleads for the U.S. not to forget him
JUÁREZ, Mexico — Jesús Miguel Roera Mendoza, 26, made a more than two-hour round trip in flip-flops and socks — “what I have on is what I have left” — to get food and cleansing wipes as he and others wait at border checkpoint 42 for a chance to be allowed into the U.S.
“We’re going to let you come through,” he said U.S. border officials told him at checkpoint 40. But after six days of waiting, he moved to a different one, where he’s been camped out.
“We have our hearts in our hands,” he said, at times getting emotional, saying that being deported back to Venezuela would be “fatal.” He had sold his house, car and motorcycle to get to the U.S.
“We want to do things right … we want to come in legally,” he said, as he asked President Biden and officials in charge for help, hoping that the U.S. “doesn’t forget us.”
4h ago / 4:47 PM UTC
New York City struggles to find space and help
New York City is struggling to find space for asylum-seekers and has asked nearby counties for help housing them before Title 42 ends and increases the influx, city officials said Thursday.
“We no longer can physically accommodate people that request emergency shelter without emergency shelter space provided outside the city,” Manuel Castro, New York City’s immigration commissioner, said.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams said the city is getting an average of 500 new arrivals each day and anticipates potentially thousands more once Title 42 is lifted.
The request has been met with pushback from leaders of some surrounding counties. In a statement, Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus criticized Adams for a “disorganized disaster” and said law enforcement agencies were not notified that buses of migrants would be arriving Thursday.
Meanwhile, under an executive order, Adams has temporarily suspended some of the city’s “right to shelter” rules that require newly arriving families to be placed in shelters. The mayor said it was a “difficult decision” to make but the right one.
More than 60,800 asylum-seekers have come through New York City since last spring and more than 37,500 are currently in the city’s care, the administration said.
4h ago / 4:34 PM UTC
More than 11,000 apprehended on Wednesday
Two DHS officials tell NBC News that U.S. Customs and Border Protection apprehended just over 11,000 migrants on Wednesday, holding steady with Tuesday’s record setting numbers.
Department of Homeland Security officials earlier in the week predicted 10,000 apprehensions a day. On Wednesday, Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz said if the daily numbers climb to 13,000 to 14,000 per day, Title 42’s end could be more problematic.
4h ago / 4:08 PM UTC
5h ago / 3:53 PM UTC
House to vote on Republican border security bill hours before Covid restrictions lift
House Republicans are expected to pass a bill to address immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border today, the same day Covid restrictions at the border are set to be lifted.
Republicans said the bill, the Secure the Border Act of 2023, would address a crisis at the border by mandating that Customs and Border Protection hire and train 22,000 Border Patrol agents, and develop a plan to upgrade existing technology to make sure agents are well-equipped. The legislation would also require the Homeland Security secretary to resume construction of the border wall, a centerpiece of the Trump administration.
The bill is unlikely to become law. Democrats, who oppose the bill, hold a slim majority in the Senate and the White House issued a veto threat against the measure this week.
5h ago / 3:22 PM UTC
Mexico suspends operations at some migrant centers pending review
Mexico’s migration institute, INM, announced it would suspend operations at 33 migrant detention centers while the country’s National Human Rights Commission completes a review of the sites, in the wake of a fire that killed 40 people who were in government custody.
The facilities, located across the country, can house up to 1,300 people at a time for stays of up to seven days, it said in a statement.
5h ago / 2:56 PM UTC
CBP orders area by the border to be ‘cleaned up’
JUAREZ — U.S. Customs and Border Protection in El Paso ordered migrants who had been staying near Gate 40 on the Mexico-U.S. border to clear up all debris in the area.
“We want everything cleaned up,” a CBP officer screamed at the people who had been lying down on cardboard and blankets overnight.
Visibly armed U.S. military personnel were asking people to line up.
About 200 migrants were present at the time.
6h ago / 2:54 PM UTC
200 people a day are being bused to Denver
About 200 people from the southern border have been transported to Denver daily in the last six days, city officials said yesterday.
The city said it processed more than 370 new migrants Tuesday — up from roughly 20 to 30 people per day for most of March and April.
Denver said it has served more than 8,800 migrants since Dec. 9. Almost 1,000 are in four emergency shelters that are at near-capacity, officials said, adding that Denver is working to provide temporary shelter and transportation to those newly arrived.
Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock addressed the increased numbers in a press conference on Thursday. “We’re not turning anyone away,” he said, while discussing the difficulty of balancing the new arrivals with those in the city who are homeless.
6h ago / 2:38 PM UTC
What immigration has to do with lower housing prices
New home construction is key to unlocking lower housing prices.
But the rate of this type of construction has fallen month to month since last March, and experts say tough immigration policies that have shrunk the construction workforce are behind the building squeeze.
Nationally, foreign-born people make up 30% of construction workers, data from the Census Bureau shows, making immigrants a key part of the home building puzzle.
But against a backdrop of tightened immigration policies instituted during the Trump administration and exacerbated during the pandemic, the number of foreign workers entering the construction industry has almost fallen in half. There were more than 67,000 new workers in 2016, compared to 38,900 in 2020.
Read the full story, about how dwindling immigration is putting the squeeze on home building, here.
6h ago / 2:16 PM UTC
Arizona officials call for federal emergency declaration to help with increase of migrants
Five officials representing Arizona communities along the U.S.-Mexico border have called for a federal emergency declaration to help with an expected increase in migrants after Title 42 expires.
Mayors from almost every single border town, including Yuma, Somerton, Nogales, Douglas and San Luis, said “it is not sustainable long-term” to handle the influx of migrants without federal assistance.
A disaster declaration would cut any “red tape” and enable the flow of federal assistance under the Federal Emergency Management Agency to affected states. The Biden administration has not indicated whether it would approve such a declaration, but other areas along the southern border, including El Paso, Texas, have already begun to declare their own states of emergency.
“I think at this point, we should really put on the table an emergency declaration,” progressive Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., said Tuesday.
Earlier this year, Gallego launched a bid against Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz., who has yet to reveal her own 2024 plans. Sinema, along with Republican Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, unveiled a bipartisan proposal that would give the Biden administration authority to extend Title 42 without using the public health emergency. That bill is not expected to pass before the measure expires.
A Republican bill to fund border security and immigration reform is expected to move through the House today, but is dead on arrival in the Democratic-led Senate.
7h ago / 1:44 PM UTC
Bus of migrants arrives at VP Harris’ residence
A bus carrying more than 30 migrants arrived outside Vice President Kamala Harris’ residence in northwest Washington, D.C., this morning.
Many of those on the bus said they came from Venezuela. The bus is among the first to arrive in Washington from the Texas border in months, hours before Title 42 is set to be lifted tonight.
The bus was filled with men, women and children, who were met with volunteers from SAMU First Response and Mutual Aid. They were loaded onto another charter bus, heading to what NBC News was told is a “place of refuge” to get their needs triaged and to figure out next steps.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, last week vowed to continue busing migrants to Democratic cities while blaming the Biden administration for what he described as an untenable flow of migrants. Arizona has also continued busing migrants to Washington, coordinating more closely with local D.C. officials to do so.
8h ago / 12:41 PM UTC
Immigration officials unveil expedited process for families with credible fear claims
Immigration officials announced a new process for families apprehended at the southwest border who are eligible for expedited removal and indicate they will seek asylum or express a fear of persecution or torture if they are deported to their home countries.
The Family Expedited Removal Management process will impose a curfew and provide heads of households with GPS ankle monitors for tracking purposes.
The program is designed to ensure that families with credible fear claims appear before immigration judges in a timely manner without being detained. Families whose claims are rejected will be removed from the U.S. within 30 days, officials said.
8h ago / 12:41 PM UTC
New arrivals urged to turn themselves in to immigration officials
EL PASO, Texas — Outside a homeless shelter in downtown El Paso, where hundreds of migrants have been camping out in recent weeks, fear and confusion hung in the air.
Men, women and children gathered under white Red Cross tarps that offered shade from the brutal 90-degree weather, sitting on cots and pieces of flat cardboard topped with donated sheets.
“I really don’t know what to do. I’m so afraid to turn myself in and get deported … I just want to be able to move forward and find my family,” said José, 41, who migrated from Venezuela and has been staying outside the Opportunity Center for the Homeless.
8h ago / 12:41 PM UTC
Here are new Biden immigration policies to expect as Title 42 ends
Here are some of the policies and requirements the Biden administration is using or has announced it plans to use as Title 42 ends tonight:
- Replace Title 42 with Title 8, the section of the U.S. law dealing with immigration and nationality that was used at the borders before the pandemic.
- Require anyone who wants to apply for asylum to make an appointment through the CBP One phone app. The number of appointments available per day through the app expands from about 800 to about 1,000, and appointments can be made 23 hours a day.
8h ago / 12:41 PM UTC
Why is there talk about ‘lifting’ Title 42?
The Biden administration had repeatedly sought to end the policy, but its plans were delayed by legal challenges from Republican states’ attorneys general. The pandemic waned, making the public health order that led to using Title 42 moot, and the Supreme Court canceled arguments in the case. Another administration effort to unwind the policy had been blocked by a federal judge in Louisiana.