White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre refused to discuss “hypotheticals” about the number of migrants expected to surge across the southern border when Title 42 is lifted this week, stating there is a plan to deal with the crisis “humanely.”
“So what you can expect from us is that we’re going to do everything that we can and use every available tool to us, as we have been, to deal with this issue in a humane and humane way, manage it humanely,” Jean-Pierre told reporters at Tuesday’s press briefing.
“Our focus when it as it relates to managing the border is we’re going to do this through enforcement, deterrence and diplomacy,” she said.
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The looming end of Title 42 has put Border Patrol officials and Republican border hawks on edge as tens of thousands of migrants are expected to pour across the border and overwhelm law enforcement. Title 42 has been used since 2020 by both the Trump and Biden administration to expel hundreds of thousands of migrants quickly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In March, nearly half of all migrant encounters ended in a Title 42 expulsion. The order will end on May 11 along with the COVID-19 national emergency.
Customs and Border Protection facilities are already over capacity in multiple sectors, according to CBP sources who spoke to Fox News Digital. The city of El Paso, Texas has already seen thousands of migrants camped out on the sidewalks.
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Officials have made 26,000 apprehensions and seen over 7,000 “gotaways” in just 72 hours, according to Border Patrol. Those numbers are overwhelming and the White House declined to say how many more are anticipated to come.
The predominantly single adult migrants are expected to be encouraged by the belief they have a greater chance of being admitted into the U.S. once the order ends. The Biden administration has said that is misinformation and has warned that it is stiffening penalties for illegal entry while urging migrants to use expanded legal pathways instead. However, the prospect of mass releases into the U.S. interior of those who have illegally entered the U.S., after crossing multiple countries to do so, is likely to undercut that narrative.
“I can’t get into hypotheticals about the numbers and what they were going to be or going to be,” Jean-Pierre said. “That’s not something I’m going to do here. What I can say is that we knew clearly we knew from the court that Title 42 was going to lift on Thursday, that’s something that we were clearly very aware of since earlier this year. We have put plans in place and processes in place to deal with this very moment.”
She announced that Homeland Securiity Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas will join her at the daily press briefing Thursday to discuss the administration’s handling of the incoming migrants.
“We have a multi-agency process. We believe we have a robust process to deal with what is going to occur after Title 42 lifts,” Jean-Pierre said. “Again, we’re using the tools that are available to us because Congress refuses to do their job when it relates to the border. Again, a system that has been broken for decades.”
Fox News’ Bill Melugin and Adam Shaw contributed to this report.
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