UPDATED 8:50 AM PT – Thursday, May 19, 2022
Border Patrol agents in Arizona are preparing for the expiration of Title 42. Agents say they are experiencing a surge in migrant encounters near their checkpoint in Tucson. On Wednesday, they voiced that their encounters are vastly different from those reported in other border states such as Texas and California.
Additionally, they’ve seen a 25-percent increase in 911 calls about illegal border crossings with authorities receiving up to 16 calls per day. Title 42 was put in place during the Trump administration and allowed border agents to turn away migrants attempting to cross into the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our numbers of apprehensions or encounters is more than 130,000 fiscal year to date,” said Border Agent Jesus Vasabilaso. “So our fiscal year started in October and then all the way to today. That’s up more than 50-percent compared to last year.”
To combat this surge officials set up a working partnership with the Mexican National Guard to apprehend illegal migrants attempting to cross from both sides of the border.
“We do what we call mirror patrol,” stated Vasabilaso. We’ll patrol on our side, they’ll patrol on their side, so we’re both looking for any bad actors around the border. They’re looking for any ladders that smugglers will utilize to get people up and over the fence, they’re looking for people that are up to no good trying to assault migrants. If Title-42 goes away the border is not going to be open.”
Title 42 is set to expire on May 23, but a federal judge in Louisiana is expected to hand down a ruling which could keep Title 42 in place.