The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops led by current Migration Committee chairman Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso has taken a hard-line stance against virtually all immigration restrictions.
The bishops have not been afraid to criticize either side of the political aisle and have denounced both Republican and Democrat efforts to curb the number of migrants crossing the border.
Seitz has repeatedly condemned Title 42. The El Paso bishop clarified his position in a January interview with Commonweal Magazine in which he said: “As a priest, I need to be clear: Title 42 and policies like it are merciless and are literally killing people by driving them to cross the desert and to drown in the river. Children are dying. Death can’t be an acceptable part of the overhead of our immigration policy.”
What will happen tomorrow?
Title 42 restrictions will expire at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday.
Officials, including Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, predict a significant and immediate surge in migrants attempting to cross the border.
“We know smugglers will seek to take advantage of the end of Title 42 and that the first few weeks will be challenging, but I have full confidence in the dedicated men and women of DHS,” Mayorkas said in a Wednesday press conference.
Biden announced last week that he was sending 1,500 troops to assist in administrative tasks at the border. The administration further said it would be expanding facilities to process and house migrants along the border.
Back in February, the Biden administration announced its most restrictive border policy yet. The policy change, which some are calling a “transit ban,” will take effect the same day Title 42 ends and will automatically deny asylum to migrants who attempt to cross the border illegally or who cross other countries illegally to get to the U.S.
Texas governor Greg Abbott announced on Monday that he would be deploying hundreds of specially trained Army National Guardsmen to help enforce border security. With approximately 1,254 miles of borderline, Texas comprises more than 64% of the total U.S. border with Mexico.
Texas cities such as El Paso have been among the border communities most heavily impacted by the migrant surge. In December, the El Paso sector of the border alone recorded an average of 2,300 illegal migrant crossings every day.
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Since March 2021, Abbott has deployed over 10,000 National Guard soldiers to the border under what he has dubbed “Operation Lone Star.”
“With the ending of Title 42 on Thursday, President Biden is laying down the welcome mat to people across the entire world, but Texas is deploying our new Texas Tactical Border Force,” said Abbott in a Monday press conference. “The Texas Tactical Border Force will bolster our Operation Lone Star efforts to secure the Texas border amid the chaos caused by President Biden’s elimination of Title 42.”