EAGLE PASS, Texas (Border Report) — As wave after wave of migrants continue to wade across the Rio Grande from Piedras Negras, Mexico, into Eagle Pass, Texas, the border town’s mayor pro tem on Thursday told Border Report that Title 42 has to remain in place.
“Title 42 is the only thing we have in place in the United States to try to prevent the influx from coming in and I hope it stays in place and I hope the people in Washington understand,” Eagle Pass Mayor Pro Tem Yolanda Perales-Ramon said Thursday morning standing on the banks of the river.
As she spoke, a large group of migrants was being apprehended less than a mile downriver, according to a drone operator.
They entered onto private ranchlands where U.S. Border Patrol agents, as well as state troopers and Texas National Guard members, who are there as part of Operation Lone Star, are a heavy patrol force in these parts.
On Tuesday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported that two large groups also crossed in this area. There were 105 migrants in one group and 195 in another.
Most of the asylum-seekers who are crossing from Mexico here are Cubans, Venezuelans, Nicaraguans and Haitians, migrant advocates tell us.
Border Report on Thursday also witnessed as Border Patrol apprehended a group of five migrants — four men and a woman — who said they were from Managua, Nicaragua, as they tried to cross the Rio Grande under International Bridge No. 2.
Wet from the river and wearing dirty jeans, they nervously glanced from one to another as a Border Patrol agent asked their names and had them remove their belts and jewelry and shoelaces and put them in plastic bags. He gave them masks and another agent soon showed up to transport the group away.
A Border Patrol spokesman told Border Report that the migrants are fingerprinted and their names recorded, even if they are quickly expelled back to Mexico under Title 42. This is so they can ensure the migrants are who they say they are and in case they are wanted by either country on criminal allegations.
And they appear to quickly be filling up the new Eagle Pass Centralized Processing Center that just opened here to process asylum-seekers.
This is one of eight or nine processing hubs that are to be located along the Southwest border.
Another processing hub is about 16 miles southeast of Laredo near the small rural town of Rio Bravo, Texas.
The Department of Homeland Security is building these centers as concerns mount that upwards of 18,000 migrants per day could try to cross if Title 42 is lifted on Monday, as the Biden administration plans.
However, a Louisiana judge could delay that and is considering a lawsuit by several states, including Texas, which want Title 42 to remain.
Title 42 is the public health order issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in March 2020 under the Trump administration that gives DHS the authority to immediately expel asylum seekers who illegally enter the United States from Mexico or Canada in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
During a visit to the Rio Grande Valley on Tuesday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said that if Title 42 is lifted then law enforcement will utilize Title 8 laws that require migrants show a credible fear of persecution or significant reason for not wanting to return to their home country.
But Perales-Ramon points out that under Title 8, the migrants will be fully processed and that means they could remain in her small town of 28,000 residents for several days before they are released on humanitarian parole, or sent back to Mexico.
“The deadline is the 23rd and by then they’re going to have to make a decision and we’re asking. We’re asking the judge and anybody that has anything to do with making this decision to please it needs to stay. Please do not lift Title 42 because what’s going to happen in the border cities is it will be a lot worse than what’s happening right now,” she said.
Perales-Ramon is a middle school principal and she said that in education they rely on what works best to teach students. She says Title 42 works best.
“Right now that is the only tool that can help us put somewhat a stop to this influx of illegal immigration that’s coming in. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against legal immigration but they need to inform these people. These people who are coming over are very much misinformed. They think that because they’re coming across that once they set foot in US soil they’re staying here and those of us who are here we know better. That’s not going to happen,” she said. “We don’t want these people to be here illegally for the rest of their lives. It doesn’t help us. It doesn’t help them and it doesn’t help the economy of the United States.”