EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas warned last week that migrants crossing between ports of entry after May 11 will be subject to Title 8 removals once Title 42 public health expulsions end.
That doesn’t seem to change the plans of many foreign nationals camped in Juarez – across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas – from planning to come across the border on that day or even earlier.
“I am thinking about turning myself in because I have no other option to enter,” said Vanesa Torres, a Venezuelan national who’s waiting for the end of Title 42 in a tent by a sidewalk in Juarez. “I know knocking on the door does not mean they will let us in (but) we want to turn ourselves in and see what happens.”
DHS last October set up a special online pathway for Venezuelans seeking asylum to apply remotely and warned that those who crossed between ports of entry risked removal. Torres said she cannot use the CBP One app because she is not formally married to her husband.
She and other migrants interviewed Monday admitted they don’t understand the difference between Title 42 and Title 8. The former is a Trump-era public health rule that allowed border agents to send people back to Mexico on public health grounds. The latter is a decades-old law that provides for the removal of ineligible migrants.
“There is a lot of uncertainty because Title 42 is going to end but Title 8 will be activated,” said Angel Montiel, another Venezuelan waiting in Juarez. “I don’t know if they will let us in or deport us. The (CBP One) app … many try it and most of the time it is stuck. We don’t know what to do. We are waiting.”
Joana Lopez, a Venezuelan mom in Juarez, said she will not stay in Mexico.
“We don’t want to stay in Mexico. What we want is to give our children a good future. Why stay here if what we want is to progress, to get ahead?” she said.
El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser, who visited Juarez last week, asserted misinformation is rife among migrants. “They come in with a false pretense that there will be open border starting May 11 and anyone that is already in the United States will no longer be required to have proper documentation and that is an untrue statement,” Leeser said on Sunday while announcing he would declare a migrant state of emergency on Monday.
Leeser said some 10,000 to 12,000 people “are ready to come in” from across the border on or about May 11 or 12 and “we know others are right behind them.”
The state of emergency will allow the city to deploy resources to receive thousands of additional migrants that come across after Title 42 ends. He said the city has received $22.5 million in advance funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and still has about $15 million of that in the bank.
He said the city is asking for additional federal funding, but emphasized money alone won’t solve deeper immigration issues.
“There is no end game for this. This is still going to continue (because) the federal process is broken. At the end of the day, we cannot continue to do that with those laws,” he said, vowing to treat with “dignity and respect” however many asylum-seekers come across the border and are released by federal officials onto El Paso.
Edgar Enrique, another Venezuelan, crossed over from Juarez to El Paso last month. When asked what he would do if U.S. authorities decided to expel him or deny his asylum application, his response mirrored the attitude of many migrants who already made a 2,000- to 3,000-mile trip to the U.S. border.
“I am not thinking about a ‘no.’ I am (thinking) positive that, yes, they will let us in,” he told Border Report.