El Paso Mayor Declares State of Emergency over Border with Title 42 Set to Expire

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El Paso Mayor Declares State of Emergency over Border with Title 42 Set to Expire

Migrants line up near the border wall after crossing the Rio Bravo River to turn themselves in to U.S. Border Patrol agents to request asylum in El Paso, Texas, seen from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico December 13, 2022. (Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters)

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By ARI BLAFF

December 18, 2022 9:33 AMListen to article

The Democratic mayor of El Paso, Texas, declared a state of emergency Saturday as the Covid-19-era pandemic policy, Title 42, is set to end Wednesday. Title 42 had allowed the administration to enforce border-control measures as a means to prevent the spread of communicable diseases.

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“We know that the influx on Wednesday will be incredible . . . we felt it was a proper time today to call a state of emergency,” Mayor Oscar Leeser stated during a press conference Saturday.

Title 42 was first used by the Trump administration as a means to curtail illegal immigration during the pandemic. The Biden administration continued Title 42 and in early December reportedly considered emulating other Trump-era border measures as a means of stemming the flow of migrants.

El Paso, which is situated on the southern border with Mexico adjacent to Juarez, has already seen a surge in illegal border crossings in the weeks leading up to the end of Title 42. Border Patrol agent Peter Jaquez acknowledged that nearly 2,500 illegal crossings in the El Paso area had been occurring daily over the previous weekend.

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“Over the weekend, the El Paso Sector experienced a major surge in illegal crossings, with a 3-day average of 2,460 daily encounters, primarily through the downtown area of El Paso. We will continue to keep the public informed as the situation evolves,” Jaquez, the acting Chief Patrol agent for the El Paso area tweeted last Monday.

A group of Republican attorneys general had filed suit in a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to protect Title 42 despite its looming expiry date, but was handed a defeat Friday. Consequently, unless any further last-minute legal actions are taken, such as escalating the case to the Supreme Court, the policy will end Wednesday.

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Leeser noted during the press conference that the city and border officials are expecting an “influx on Wednesday [that] will be incredible,” with some anticipating a doubling in the number of daily illegal migrant border crossings.

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Ari Blaff
ARI BLAFF is a news writer for National Review. His writing has appeared in Tablet MagazineQuilletteCity Journal, and Newsweek. He holds a Master’s from the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and writes from Toronto, Canada. @ariblaff

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