The Biden administration is scheduled to end 'Title 42' emergency measures on Wednesday, putting a stop to one of the few enforcement tools keeping the historic border crisis even somewhat in check. Title 42 is a pandemic-era remnant that has allowed border officials to rapidly expel large numbers of arriving illegal immigrants -- disproportionately men traveling without families -- without long logistical delays. At the urging of pro-illegal immigration activists, and despite dire warnings from relevant authorities, Team Biden is squashing this pandemic emergency authority, even as it continues to use the pandemic to justify novel federal power-grabs on other fronts. Unless Monday's temporary administrative hold from SCOTUS sticks beyond this evening, it will be gone. When I visited the border earlier this year, one official after another told me that the end of Title 42, without an adequate replacement, would unleash chaos and dysfunction far beyond what they've already experienced. Ahead of the December 21 deadline, the meltdown has already begun:
Breaking: The mayor of El Paso, TX declared a state of emergency late last night — 72 hrs before Title 42 ends.— Anna Giaritelli (@Anna_Giaritelli) December 18, 2022
Mayor Oscar Leeser has been under pressure by the Biden Administration for months to keep calm and not declare it, while community/federal police have asked for help.
A reminder, DHS does not allow media into these Border Patrol facilities, so the only way we are able to see images like this are through leaks or members of Congress who visit and are willing to share photos/videos, like @RepTonyGonzales did in this case. @FoxNews pic.twitter.com/7HJ55993pe— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) December 19, 2022
3 senior Border Patrol agents tell me agents have been pulled from the “line.” One guy at DC HQ was getting panicked texts from BP officials in El Paso.— Anna Giaritelli (@Anna_Giaritelli) December 16, 2022
As a result, groups that cross border are walking across the highway into the city, evading arrest. pic.twitter.com/HA8kVBKSPy
The El Paso emergency declaration is notable because as we covered this fall, the Biden administration has allegedly been pressuring that city's Democratic mayor to avoid taking this step. The mayor denied it, but other city officials say that he'd admitted it was true in meetings. It's gotten very bad in that city, as it has become the temporary focal point of the crisis -- as other border sectors and cities have been at various points over the past two years:
Some 500 migrants were released into the streets of El Paso, Texas, to fend for themselves Monday as the border city grappled with an overwhelming influx of asylum seekers who have besieged the city and overwhelmed its shelters and border detention facilities. Migrants with nowhere to go were seen lying on mattresses and cardboard boxes in the city’s downtown district after having their claims processed and being let into the country by Border Patrol agents, according to KTSM-TV. The situation, which a local congressman dubbed a “crisis on steroids,” came as some 5,628 asylum seekers were held in temporary US Customs and Border Protection custody in a facility designed for 3,500 after Mexican authorities escorted busloads of people fleeing failing governments in Nicaragua, Peru and Ecuador to the US border this weekend.
Under the Trump administration's successful policies, 'Remain in Mexico' provisions allowed US officials breathing room to process asylum claims (the great majority get denied) while migrants waiting south of the border. That was reflexively reversed, along with other policies, by the Biden administration, and the results have been disastrous. Per this and other reports, Mexican officials are not "escorting busloads" of illegal migrants directly to the US border. Fox's Bill Melugin told us the same in a radio interview last week. And as Melugin and others point out, El Paso isn't the only location where the crisis is raging or surging. Dispatches from elsewhere in Texas and Arizona:
NEW: Our @FoxNews thermal drone over part of another group of several hundred migrants that crossed illegally into Eagle Pass, TX early this morning. The consistency here has been almost nonstop going back to the spring. Large groups almost every day, sometimes multiple per day. pic.twitter.com/mwpnW7dSHH— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) December 19, 2022
AZ: NEW: Border Patrol sources tell me 7,600+ migrants were encountered in the Yuma sector last week—That’s up from 6,400+ the week prior.— Ali Bradley (@AliBradleyTV) December 19, 2022
Sources say there are nearly 3,000 in Border Patrol custody right now in a facility that holds 1,200.
This is with #Title42 in place.
In the lead-up to December 21, the White House continues to defiantly pretend that they've been all over this problem since day one, a transparently insulting lie. Biden's chief spokesperson still refers to Republican efforts to draw attention to the catastrophe as "stunts," and the administration is shamelessly trying to blame GOP rhetoric for the massive influx of illegal crossers:
NEW: White House statement, per @JacquiHeinrich:— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) December 17, 2022
“To be clear: the lifting of the Title 42 public health order does not mean the border is open. Anyone who suggests otherwise is doing the work of smugglers spreading misinformation to make a quick buck off of vulnerable migrants”
The border is effectively open, as more than one million known 'got-aways' have entered the US since Biden took office. Many more have been processed and transported to their cities of choice around the country, awaiting distant court dates. The president is eliminating one of the last remaining and effective enforcement mechanisms for rapid removals. Noticing reality is not the problem. The policies creating that reality are the problem. The White House's partisan spin is so facially preposterous that of course journalists are apparently taking it seriously. In case you missed it, this is wild, mind-bending stuff:
ABC’s @MarthaRaddatz blames Repubs for “open border” message: “I don’t think I’ve ever heard President Biden say ‘we have an open border, come on over,’ but people I have heard people say it are you (@GregAbbott_TX), are former President Trump, are Ron DeSantis...” #ThisWeek pic.twitter.com/Zmp5iHDJP8— Brent Baker 🇺🇦 (@BrentHBaker) December 18, 2022
Fiscal year 2022 shattered all previous records on illegal immigration. Over the first two-plus months of the new fiscal year, illegal crossings are already up by more than 50 percent over last year -- and known got-aways are already approaching 200,000. This isn't happening because Republicans are calling out the problem. It's happening because of...the problem. I'll leave you with this:
Absurd.— Matt Whitlock (@mattdizwhitlock) December 18, 2022
“And we need New Yorkers to understand that, so far, they have been asked to shoulder this burden almost entirely alone”
Does @NYCMayor know anything at all about what border states have been shouldering? Amazing he’s asking for money instead of border security. https://t.co/REbgIZm335