- Title 42, a policy enabling swift deportation in the name of Covid-19, has been retired with the end of the national health emergency.
- Confusion and rumors around the policy change have prompted a rush to the border, with record numbers crossing each day.
- Local authorities and humanitarian organizations in border towns like El Paso prepare for an anticipated surge in crossings, despite the calm before the storm.
As the sun began to set on a Friday, a policy known as Title 42 drew its last breath. This rule, once the crutch of US border control, had for years allowed the good ol' USA to whisk people back over the border, no questions asked, all in the name of battling the big, bad Covid-19.
However, the national health emergency had finally been lifted after three long years, and with it, Title 42 had to pack up and leave. Now, President Biden has cooked up some new rules to replace the old, but they're facing some legal hiccups.
Meanwhile, in the town of El Paso, Texas, whispers and rumors about the policy change had created quite the stir. Jon Uzcategui and his sweetheart, Esmaily, both 24 and hailing from Venezuela, were among the many who had rushed to the border. Misinformation had convinced them they'd be deported on sight, which led them to try and sneak into the US. Despite being stopped, they were allowed to stay after their asylum plea was heard.
With the end of Title 42, there was a mad dash to the 2,000-mile-long US-Mexico border. Record-breaking numbers of people have been crossing each day, although border authorities claimed they didn't see a major increase after the policy was lifted.
In El Paso, it was business as usual, with the city free of the makeshift migrant camps that used to dot its streets. Yet, there was an undercurrent of tension as local authorities and humanitarian organizations braced for a possible surge in border crossings.
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