PHOENIX — Along the border near Yuma, as many as 10,000 immigrants cross into the U.S. every week. Nearly all of them are sent back. Across the length of the southwest border, the U.S. Border Patrol reports it encountered more than 221,000 migrants in the month of March alone.
"We inherited a broken and dismantled system that is already under strain. It is not built to manage the current levels and types of migratory flows. Only Congress can fix this," U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said. Mayorkas was testifying before a House Appropriations Subcommittee.
On Tuesday Mayorkas released a 20-page memo outlining the government's preparations ahead of the scheduled May 23 termination of Title 42. It's a six-point plan to deal with the expected rush of migrants once Title 42 is lifted.
It includes a surge of personnel and resources to the border and Mayorkas says a commitment by the Biden administration to strictly enforce U.S. Immigration law.
"Individuals who cross the border without legal authorization are processed for removal and if unable to establish a legal basis to remain in the United States, be promptly removed from the country," Mayorkas said.
Arizona Congressman Tom O'Halleran says he needs to know more about what the administration will do along the border. On a recent appearance on Fox News, O'Halleran said, "I disagree with the president. The president has to have a plan. We don't want chaos at the border."
Arizona Director of Homeland Security Tim Roemer, who worked in the Obama Administration's Department of Homeland Security, said the plan is "short on detail and lacks any sense of urgency," Roemer said. "Arizona was never consulted by the administration."
Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema, who along with Texas Senator John Cornyn introduced Immigration Reform legislation last year, called the plan to end Title 42 unrealistic.
"While the administration's adoption of our bipartisan border processing center proposal represents an important first step to reduce the strain on Arizona and treat migrants fairly and humanely, I remain concerned the plan does not ensure local communities, law enforcement, and non-profits receive adequate support to prevent a humanitarian and security crisis in Arizona border communities," Sinema said.
On Monday, a federal judge in Louisiana announced he will issue a temporary restraining order delaying the end of Title 42. A May 13 hearing is scheduled to determine how long that order will be enforced.