SAN YSIDRO, Calif. — As the end of Title 42 is looming, a surge of migrants are anticipated to attempt to cross the US-Mexico Border.
Video from several incidents over the weekend show dozens of groups of migrants gathering near or attempting to cross through the Tijuana River Valley areas.
U.S. Border Patrol agents confirmed that 88 people from 12 different countries attempted to cross in one such incident on Friday. The agency said that four of them were escorted to the hospital, while the rest were taken for processing.
This comes as Title 42, a pandemic-era policy that allowed officials to quickly process or expel certain migrants at the border, is set to expire on May 11. When the policy is lifted, the old guidelines under Title 8 will resume effect.
On Sunday night, FOX 5 crews witnessed about 70 migrants awaiting to be processed in between two border walls in San Ysidro, many of whom came from countries in Africa and Asia to seek asylum.
Several of the migrants told FOX 5 that they have been in the area between the two walls for five nights straight after traveling to the U.S.
“We have no food. We have no water. It’s cold,” one migrant said to FOX 5 through the border wall.
Some said they had been traveling upwards of six months to escape war-torn countries, going through dozens of countries to seek asylum.
Immigration experts say that incidents of migrants waiting along the US-Mexico border will only increase in frequency as the end of Title 42 gets closer.
“Any border town is dealing with this issue,” Saman Nasseri, an immigration attorney based in San Diego, told FOX 5.
Last week, officials made internal projections that migrant arrivals across the country could spike between 10,000 to 13,000 per day.
Nasseri estimates that about 20 to 30% more people could be attempting to cross the border in the coming weeks — many of whom, he said, are looking to take advantage of the quick processing speed under the policy.
“Once Title 42 is repealed … rather than make quick decisions at the border and decide whether someone is eligible for asylum, (U.S. officials) can now take more people into custody again,” Nasseri said.
Title 8, which will resume once Title 42 ends, imposes immigration and criminal consequences for those who cross the border illegally, according to the Department of Homeland Security. This could include a final order of removal, deportation, five-year ban on reentry and possible criminal charges.
The Biden administration is working on its own version of the fast-track program for initial screenings at the border.
Among the proposed changes are a shift of responsibility for migrant interviews from Border Patrol to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, as well as the provision of legal counsel to asylum-seekers during interviews.
In the meantime, DHS is warning migrants about smugglers, as they say a lot of the misinformation at the border stems from human smugglers trying to make a profit.
“Criminal smuggling organizations prey on migrants – lying about U.S. immigration laws and the dangers of the journey,” the department aid in another tweet. “Asylum laws do not provide for relief solely for economic reasons or for general violence.”
In a statement to FOX 5, a CBP spokesperson said that the department is working to address this increasing exploitation of migrants by human smugglers.
“San Diego Sector’s operational posture and response strategy are based on comprehensive analyses of current migration patterns,” the statement read. “Border Patrol Agents leverage all available resources to apprehend, transport, screen, and process migrants who are smuggled into the United States by human smugglers as expeditiously as possible.”
The statement also said agents run record checks on the migrants apprehended to identify if people are criminals and subject to mandatory custody.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.