News Americas, WASHINGTON, D.C., Weds. May 10, 2023: Ahead of the end of Title 11, the US Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security have announced sweeping measures to manage the US-Mexico border more humanely, according to a statement from the State Department. The move comes in response to the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the lifting of the pandemic-era Title 42 public health order at 11:59 PM ET tomorrow, Thursday, May 11.
Under the new measures, US immigration authorities will be enforcing long-standing Title 8 immigration laws to quickly process and remove individuals who arrive at the border without authorization. Individuals who cross into the United States at the southwestern border without authorization or without having scheduled a time to arrive at a port of entry will be presumed ineligible for asylum, absent an applicable exception. If removed, they will be barred from re-entry for at least five years and subject to potential criminal prosecution for repeated attempts to enter unlawfully.
The State Department also plans to open approximately 100 regional processing centers at key locations in the Western Hemisphere, to direct migrants to lawful pathways early in their journey and well before reaching the southwest border. Over 140 federal personnel from the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State, along with personnel from the International Organization on Migration and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, will be deployed to support these brick-and-mortar centers. Personnel at these centers will screen individuals for eligibility for US refugee resettlement or other lawful pathways to the United States, Canada, and Spain.
According to the statement, the United States is implementing these measures within the constraints of a broken immigration system that Congress has repeatedly failed to fix. The Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security are calling on Congress to update immigration laws and provide the funds the administration requested for border security and management, including the $4.9 billion for border security and management that Congress cut in half.
“Multiple federal agencies are working to manage the border using the tools they have,” the State Department said. “But Congress needs to update our immigration laws.”
The Biden-Harris administration has also led the largest expansion of lawful pathways for protection in the United States in decades, according to the press release. DHS and DOJ will be issuing a final rule to encourage individuals to use those lawful pathways instead of seeking to enter the United States between ports of entry without prior authorization along the southwest border.
As part of the comprehensive plan, DHS will also increase the number of available appointments on the CBP One App for noncitizens seeking to schedule appointments to present themselves at southwest border ports. This change will give noncitizens more time to navigate the appointment scheduling app, and therefore help ensure that those with limited connectivity have meaningful opportunities to schedule appointments.
The Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security are stepping up their efforts to counter misinformation from smugglers who are falsely claiming that the border is open in order to profit off vulnerable migrants. The two departments are launching additional digital advertising campaigns in Central and South America, and in the Caribbean, to communicate clearly that individuals who unlawfully cross the US southwest border will be presumed ineligible for asylum under new regulations, subject to expedited removal, and barred from re-entry to the United States for at least five years if ordered removed.
The US military will also be in place to begin supporting US Customs and Border Protection at the southwest border, starting with an initial deployment of 550 personnel as of today, Wednesday, May 10. They will join the 2,500 National Guard troops already supporting CBP at the border.
The additional troops will provide administrative support at CBP facilities, including data entry, warehousing assistance, and augmenting CBP surveillance and detection activities so that CBP agents and officers can get out in the field to secure and humanely manage the border.