President Joe Biden’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has crafted a plan to more quickly and easily bus and fly border crossers into American communities as a response to the president’s seeking to end Title 42, the public health authority used to deter illegal immigration.
Titled “DHS Plan for Southwest Border Security and Preparedness,” DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas details an effort to continue the administration’s transformation of the United States-Mexico border into a mere checkpoint for border crossers.
The plan is specifically crafted to be implemented sometime after Biden ends the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Title 42 authority that has allowed federal immigration officials to quickly return illegal aliens to their native countries for two years. A federal judge has said he plans to block the administration from ending the authority.
“When the Title 42 public health Order is lifted, we anticipate migration levels will increase, as smugglers will seek to take advantage of and profit from vulnerable migrants,” Mayorkas writes in the plan.
Biden officials admit that up to half a million border crossers and illegal aliens — the equivalent of the resident population of Atlanta, Georgia — could arrive at the border every month after Title 42 is ended.
To relieve DHS officials of the potentially record-breaking illegal immigration that is expected, Mayorkas writes that the agency will surge taxpayer funding to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as Jewish Family Services and Catholic Charities that help bus and fly border crossers into American communities.
By May 23, we will be prepared to hold approximately 18,000 noncitizens in CBP custody at any given time, up from 13,000 at the beginning of 2021, and we have doubled our ability to transport noncitizens on a daily basis, with flexibility to increase further.
We are bolstering the capacity of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to receive noncitizens after they have been processed by CBP and are awaiting the results of their immigration removal proceedings. And, we are ensuring appropriate coordination with and support for state, local, and community leaders to help mitigate increased impacts to their communities.
Our goal is to help communities alleviate the pressures they experience by expanding NGO capacity, through communication and coordination with all relevant partners, and other assistance such as the Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP), a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant program that supplements and expands ongoing work of local NGOs to meet the needs of local agencies.
Mayorkas also details in the plan the step-by-step process where DHS ends up releasing tens of thousands of border crossers into American communities every month. In March alone, DHS released more than 80,000 border crossers into the U.S. interior — a population larger than the president’s hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania.
“Upon encountering individuals who have entered between [Ports of Entries], Border Patrol Agents transport them to stations for processing,” Mayorkas writes:
This includes verifying their identities through a review of their documents and biographic information, as well as the collection of biometric records. Each individual processed by [Customs and Border Protection (CBP)] is screened against numerous records systems, including the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Database, to determine whether or not they pose a national security or public safety threat. After initial identity verification and record checks, CBP Agents and Officers determine the appropriate processing pathway from the available options, which are determined based on an individual’s nationality, age, family status, and results of security screening and vetting. This process, including final processing for each pathway, takes, on average, one to two hours per individual.
Upon completion of CBP processing, certain noncitizens may be quickly removed and others may be transferred to ICE for continued detention. Unaccompanied children must be transferred to HHS. Noncitizens not transferred to other government agencies are processed for release during the pendency of their removal proceedings. This often includes enrollment in an ICE Alternatives to Detention (ATD) program and coordination with NGOs to assist with planning for travel away from the border and the provision of other basic services.
As part of the plan, Biden’s Department of Defense is expected to “provide, as needed, rapid contracting support for air and ground transportation” for border crossers being transported to American communities.
DHS is also looking to have NGOs provide legal assistance to border crossers and illegal aliens so they can fight deportation orders and gain asylum in the U.S.
“NGOs will be present as well to provide legal orientation services and onward transportation for those low-risk individuals who are ultimately released on ATD,” Mayorkas writes.