(NewsNation) — Washington does not have an immediate solution to the crisis on the southern border, and with Title 42 set to expire in a matter of days, it is likely to get worse.
Title 42, the COVID-19-era policy that has prevented hundreds of thousands of migrants from seeking asylum in the US in recent years, is set to expire on Wednesday.
“We at all levels of government are doing everything we can to prevent people from entering the country illegally,” Texas Governor Greg Abbott said. “Or we turn them away, arrest them and put them behind bars.”
Abbott says resources to handle the influx of immigrants are drying up.
According to the Dallas Morning News
Texas has spent an estimated $4 billion increasing border enforcement on “Operation Lone Star” since last year.
“If the courts aren’t going to step in and stop the removal of Title 42,” Abbott said. “It’s going to be total chaos.”
When Title 42 expires, the Department of Homeland Security expects the number of immigrants seeking asylum to rise dramatically on top of already record-breaking numbers.
Border agents encountered nearly 2.4 million migrants at the southern border this year.
averaging nearly 7,500 a day.
There is no exact figure yet for how much a larger increase will cost, but the Biden administration expects it to be in the billions.
“The administration has asked Congress to fund more than $3 billion to help us provide the resources that will be needed to process migrants, to ensure that people are treated humanely,” said White House Senior Counsel Keisha. Lance Bottoms.
Beyond the local shelters, motels and recreational centers, some of the migrants are housed in detention centers or jails. The vast majority have no criminal record.
Currently, some 30,000 migrants are housed in facilities run by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
All of this is paid for by the government.
“We know the turnout on Wednesday is going to be incredible,” El Paso Mayor Oscar Lesser said. “It will be huge.”
On Saturday Lesser declared a state of emergency. The City of Denver has issued a emergency declaration after hundreds of undocumented immigrants unexpectedly arrived in the mile-high city.
“We’re going to run out of capacity to serve them,” Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said.
In New York, Mayor Eric Adams has asked the federal government for $1 billion to handle immigrants there.
In Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser declared an emergency, funneling $10 million in district dollars to create an office of immigrant services.
No matter the cost in dollars and cents, Democratic Congresswoman Verónica Escobar, who represents El Paso, says there is also a human cost that should not be ignored when migrants seek refuge in the US.
“The federal government has treated immigration as a matter exclusively for Congress,” Escobar said. “We need to step back and realize that this is a Western Hemisphere refugee crisis.”