President Joe Biden has acknowledged that the US border with Mexico will be chaotic for a while. The pandemic-era rules that have made claiming asylum at the frontier all but impossible are set to expire overnight on Thursday into Friday. Tens of thousands of people are massing at border crossing points waiting for the expiration of the rules. Thousands have already entered the United States and a spike in asylum claims is expected. The Texan cities of El Paso, Brownsville, and Laredo have declared a state of emergency as they struggle to cope with hundreds of people who are already there.
The Title 42 rules were put in place in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic to prevent people with the virus from entering the country. From Friday, migrants will once again be able to lodge asylum claims and have their cases dealt with through the legal system, a process that can take years. Biden has ordered 1,500 active-duty troops to the frontier, where they are expected to assist border patrol agents with the processing of applicants.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott has accused Biden of “laying down the welcome mat.” He is sending members of the Texas National Guard to “hotspots all along the border to help intercept and repel large groups of migrants trying to enter Texas illegally.” Some of those troops were visible Tuesday at the border in El Paso, across from Mexico’s Ciudad Juarez.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador held an hour-long call with Biden on Tuesday, during which they discussed immigration and the need for economic development of Latin America. Several migrants have said that no upcoming border policy change will dissuade them from trying to make a new home in the United States.