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Concerns over chaos at ports of entry if Title 42 expires

FOX 9's Adam Klepp recaps hearings this week on Title 42 as it continues to be debated in D.C.

YUMA, Ariz. (KECY, KYMA) - Title 42 was a major topic of discussion on capitol hill this week.

With the policy still set to expire on May 23rd, the asylum-seeking process for migrants could look very different, very soon.

Since March of 2020, migrants have been pushed to illegally cross the border between ports of entry, then seek out border patrol.

Migrants were apprehended in Yuma on May 6th after illegally crossing the border.

It’s something immigration expert Aaron Reichlin-Melnick with the American Immigration Council says could change when Title 42 expires.

“If a migrant wants to claim asylum and they’re near Yuma if they go to the port of entry and say they want to seek asylum, they’ll be told no, you have to wait until Title 42 is over,” Reichlin-Melnick said.

This is one of the reasons Reichlin-Melnick believes Title 42 should end, because it incentivizes migrants to cross illegally, putting them and law enforcement at risk.

But with the record number of migrants arriving at the southern border, there are concerns about what will happen at ports of entry when they resume asylum processing.

“Arizona's ports of entry were not designed to manage large-scale asylum processing,” Democratic Senator from Arizona Kyrsten Sinema said.

If asylum seekers were to overwhelm a port of entry, the customs and border protections chief operating officer did not rule out taking drastic measures.

“If necessary, they can shut down a port of entry until they can regain order," Carry Huffman said.

On Wednesday, DHS Secretary Alejandro mayor as said they’re hoping to avoid such disruption by having migrants make asylum claims on an app and show up at a port of entry at a pre-determined time.

“They make their claims, they are screened, and if they pass that screening we can bring them to a port of entry," Mayorkas said.

Despite this week's testimony from various members of DHS, CBP and Health and Human Services, Senator Sinema says she does not think the government is prepared for the end of Title 42.

“I have not heard specific details that allow me to be confident the government will be prepared,” Sinema said.

Title 42 is still set to end on May 23rd, but with a temporary restraining order expiring next Wednesday, the legal battles over the policy are far from finished.

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Adam Klepp

Adam Klepp is excited to start his first job in the broadcast news industry as the FOX9 at 9 anchor and as a reporter at 5 and 6 on News 11.

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