National Security

DHS outlines response to potential spring influx at border

View from the California side of the US/Mexico border into Tijuana where the border fence meets the Pacific Ocean. (iStock)

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) went on the offensive Tuesday, outlining plans to respond to a potential spring influx at the border sure to ignite GOP criticism.

Officials who spoke with reporters outlined a scenario in which they may need to prepare for as many as 18,000 border crossings per day.

It’s a figure they said could incorporate the targeting of one location, such as the mass influx of Haitians in Del Rio, Texas, last year, or “a potential lifting of Title 42 restrictions,” as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reviewing the order blocking migrants from seeking asylum drafted by the Trump administration in the early days of the pandemic.

Officials said that largely involves ramping up “transportation, facilities, personnel and medical” in order to transport, house, and care for migrants as they are processed.

“There are additional temporary facilities being constructed right now. Some of those will be online in early April. That will bring holding capacity up to additional spots. We’re also doing contracting for additional busing to provide transportation resources and also additional air resources and staffing,” an official said, including placing more resources at more remote, less traveled portions of the southwest border.

The preparations are underway both for current migration levels and if migration surges to 12,000 or 18,000 border crossings per day.

“This is what we do at DHS. We plan for all kinds of contingency events, whether they’re high probability or low probability, we need to be prepared,” a DHS official said.

The contingency planning comes as DHS has projected it may see an influx of demand at the border if Title 42 is lifted. The CDC has said it is reviewing the order through March 30.

“It’s unclear what the impact of Title 42’s potential lifting in the coming days, weeks or months would be on migratory flows, but we need to be prepared for — we’re considering a potential contingency which is that the lifting of Title 42 could increase flows. So that is definitely part of this planning process,” the official said.

Tags Border Immigration Joe Biden migrants Title 42

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