US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas toured sections of the border wall

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Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, left, listens to Deputy patrol agent in charge of the US Border Patrol Anthony Crane as he tours the section of the border wall Tuesday, May 17, 2022, in Hidalgo, Texas. (Joel Martinez/The Monitor via AP, Pool) Joel Martinez AP Read more at: https://www.sunherald.com/news/business/article261539527.html#storylink=cpy

US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Tuesday that authorities were prepared for an anticipated increase in migrants crossing the border from Mexico, days before a public health order is set to end after being used to turn people away nearly 2 million times without a chance to seek asylum.

A federal judge may order that pandemic-related asylum limits continue, but Mayorkas offered public reassurances of readiness after a whirlwind tour of Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, the busiest corridor for illegal crossings. Homeland Security has said it will prepare for as many as 18,000 daily crossings, compared with a daily average of about 7,800 in April, though Mayorkas emphasized that those are not projections.

Mayorkas visited a remodeled processing center in McAllen, the region’s largest city, where migrants sat on metal benches and on sleeping mats spread on the floor, as aluminum thermal blankets made rustling noises. Televisions pointed into cells. The center reopened about six weeks ago for about 1,200 migrants.


Chain-link fences have been replaced with cinder block walls. Cells have an open roof that Border Patrol officials said provides better ventilation. The center is divided into two sections: one for women in 17 cells of varying sizes and another for men in four wings, with about 24 rooms. There are 44 shower stalls.

Processing for immigration court appearances can take about two hours a person with an average stay of 43 hours at the facility. Authorities distribute monitoring devices for 250 to 350 migrants released daily. Up to 600 have been released in a day to Catholic Charities of Rio Grande Valley, officials said.

The Biden administration has sent more personnel and equipment and erected temporary holding facilities to process migrants to prepare for the end of the pandemic-era rule on Monday. Title 42 authority, named for a 1944 public health law, forbids migrants from seeking asylum under U.S. law and international treaty on grounds of preventing the spread of COVID-19.

The agency also plans to increase prosecutions for illegal border crossings, crack down on smugglers, and speed up the evaluation of asylum claims, Mayorkas said at a news conference in McAllen. “We’re a nation of immigrants and we are also a nation of laws,” he said. “We enforce the law and will continue to do so.”

Source: OEM

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