Migrant Influx Forces Texas’ El Paso to Declare Emergency as Title 42 Expiry Looms Large

Edited By: Shankhyaneel Sarkar

Last Updated: December 19, 2022, 18:04 IST

Migrants, mostly from Nicaragua, rest in a parking lot near a bus station after being released from US Border Patrol custody in El Paso, Texas, US (Image: Reuters)

Migrants were sleeping in makeshift tents on the streets of El Paso. US officials say more than 2,400 migrants cross into El Paso every day

El Paso mayor, Oscar Leeser, a Democrat, declared a state of emergency as border officials struggled to control the migrant influx.

Several southern states of the United States have seen large-scale migrant influx and Republicans have accused the Biden administration for not resolving the crisis.

Leeser said the state of emergency declaration would help the city receive resources and ability to shelter migrants who have entered the country by crossing the Mexican border.

“We wanted to make sure people are treated with dignity. We want to make sure everyone is safe,” Leeser was quoted as saying by news agencies. Leeser said that within December 21, the number of migrants being released onto the streets of the Texan city could cross 6,000 per day, the El Paso Times reported.

Leeser was on the streets of El Paso over the weekend and said that additional measures will be needed to deal with the migrant influx and pointed out that since Title 42 expires on December 21, more measures would be required to deal with incoming migrants.

Texas’ Democratic senator Cesar Blanco said the situation has ‘superseded our local governments’ capacity’.

He said that with Title 42 set to expire, there is elevated demand for resources. “I support the city of El Paso’s Declaration of Disaster to activate a whole-of-government approach to addressing this unprecedented crisis,” Blanco was quoted as saying by the El Paso Times.

Texas’ governor, Republican Greg Abbott, assured the city administration that his office would take steps only after consultation with them.

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Leeser said that this is a national issue and everyone is working with each other to resolve the crisis.

Migrants were sleeping in the downtown streets where temperatures have dropped below 20°F. Temperatures will dip further as a cold Arctic wind will engulf much of the US and also affect temperate states like Florida and Texas.

Title 42

Former US president Donald Trump invoked Title 42, citing Covid-19 pandemic, to keep migrants from entering the US.

Title 42 is part of the US law which allows the government to take emergency measures to keep communicable diseases out of the country.

Trump used it to expel migrants since Title 42’s provisions allow expelling migrants without having to consider them for asylum.

The Biden administration has not yet lifted Title 42, which is set to expire on December 21.

Several Republican administrations have filed cases in US courts to ensure that Title 42 remains in place but a federal judge earlier ordered the Biden administration to lift Title 42, calling it “arbitrary and capricious” after families seeking asylum filed a case.

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