In a western Texas desert, a giant tent — larger than a football field — is being used by the U.S. Border Patrol as El Paso prepared for a surge in migrants coming across the southern border at the end of the Title 42 health policy.
The Supreme Court has ruled Tuesday to keep it in place as it takes up the case, but the policy was never intended to be a permanent one.
The giant tent located northeast of downtown will serve as facilities become overflown with migrants. The expiration of Title 42 was slated for this week but was challenged by 19 Republican-led states' attorneys general who want to keep the policy in place.
The Border Patrol has a processing center in El Paso but will not be able to meet the demands of post-Title 42 as 5,000 migrants are anticipated per day into the city.
"It's still going to get worse before it even gets better, and that's what we're preparing for," El Paso Democrat Mayor Oscar Leeser said Friday. "That's what I call the unknown."
"As we know [Border Patrol's] CPC, central processing center, has a capacity of 1,400; we know that their breaking point is 5,000," El Paso Deputy City Manager Mario D'Agostino said at a public meeting the same day. "With this surge, they know that they will not be able to hold it."
Officials stated as many as 20,000 migrants are waiting in Mexico, hoping to gain entry into America through Biden's border.
In addition, members of the Texas National Guard placed shipping containers as a border barrier. The Texas Military Department also added three rows of concertina razor wire.
"They're focused on deterrence. They're focused on sending a message that unlawful crossings is not an option," Maj. Gen. Ronald "Win" Burkett in a video tweeted from the Texas Military Department's official account on Christmas Day. "You've got to go the POE [port of entry]."
Burkett stated the department had moved "400 people to El Paso, over 40 vehicles … in 72 hours."
On Monday, 400 armed Texas National Guard members and their Humvees were stationed to funnel migrants onto the span across the Rio Grande.
Almost 680,000 migrants have forced the convention center into a shelter. Vacant middle schools have also been turned into shelters. Migrants have overwhelmed the shelters, resulting in them being released into the community; some have taken refuge on the streets as freezing temperatures have raised concerns.
"It's been a request made by [Texas Democrat Rep. Veronica Escobar] and at this point, they still have not granted us access to that," Leeser said. "There'd been quite a few deployments at Fort Bliss at this time, and that changes quite a bit what they can and can't do on federal land."
Of the people crossing illegally, 40% had been expelled into Mexico under Title 42 this year.
Once migrants are in custody, Border Portal takes down records, background checks and biometrics. Those that do not qualify for asylum are deported to their home country or expelled into Mexico.
The Biden administration has requested the Supreme Court establish a new Title 42 expiration date for midnight on the second business day after it orders the policy to wrap up to allow authorities to brace for impact.
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