On Thursday, a pandemic-era federal order allowing the U.S. to quickly expel large numbers of migrants at the southern border will come to an end. Officials and local communities are already bracing for a significant increase in the number of migrants crossing the border.
Since it began under the Trump Administration three years ago, Title 42 has been used more than 2.8 million times to expel migrants without giving them a chance to file asylum claims in the name of mitigating the spread of COVID-19. Most of those expelled are from Mexico and Central America; many are fleeing violence and extreme poverty. Immigration advocates have criticized the policy for infringing on asylum seekers’ rights to access legal pathways to entry.
The program’s expiration has already been delayed multiple times after Republican officials have sued to keep it in place. Three Republican-governed states—Missouri, Arizona and Louisiana— sued last month to preserve Title 42 restrictions, claiming that doing so would lead to an “unprecedented crisis” at the border.
But if that suit doesn’t halt the expiry, the Biden Administration is preparing for an influx of migrants, planning to open about 100 centers to help direct migrants to legal pathways to enter the U.S., expand border cities’ capacity to detain migrants, and deploy additional troops to support border patrol.
Pulitzer-prize winning photographer John Moore has covered the Southern border and immigration for many years. Below are photos he took along the border in El Paso on May 8 and 9, days before the end of Title 42, documenting the preparations from officials and the arriving migrants.
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