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The end of Title 42 leaves many migrants looking for answers

Those who just came to the U.S. face a complicated process full of delays and new questions.
The end of Title 42 leaves many migrants looking for answers
Posted at 10:01 PM, May 12, 2023

Title 42 is over, and in its place are more stringent applications of existing immigration law.

Overnight and into Friday after the policy expired, we have not seen the mass crossing expected at the southern border, but we do see confusion among the people now in the U.S.

A Brownsville, Texas bus station is a first stop for many asylum seekers who have just been released by federal immigration agents.

26-year-old Jose David Garcia knows the immigration laws have changed, making the process more difficult and the consequences for not following it more severe. 

He's says he's lucky to have crossed before the expiration of Title 42.

"Now that I have arrived here I don't know how worried I should be since I don't understand the law yet," Garcia said.

As migrants cross in, border cities are way stations providing respite, shelter and then transport out to other cities in the United States.

"No chaos here," said Andrea Rudnik, with humanitarian aid group Team Brownsville. "No panic, just the will to do a good job of welcoming these folks and sending them on their way to sponsors and family members in other parts of the country."

"Our numbers went from 300 a day to about 800 to 1,000 a day," Rudnik said. "It just means we have to be on call constantly. We have to keep the supply chains going. For us it's volunteer led and volunteer supplied."

SEE MORE: NYC relaxes shelter rules to house more asylum seekers

Even if the needs are temporary, they still have a cost.

Brownsville's mayor tells us he's in constant contact with the federal government for financial assistance.

Depending on the situation the city may help pay busing out migrants. Otherwise family members send money for travel.

Asylum seekers typically get an immigration court date, but an overtaxed system means that the appointment could be a month away or two years from now.

"The system is clogged," said Jaime Diez, an immigration attorney. "Right now there's two million people in removal proceedings and those are mostly people here in the United States. The system only has so many judges, the system is clogged."

Migrants flocked to Diez when they learned he was an attorney, asking questions and looking for answers.

"One of them told his family was separated that one of them was in Mexico and was not allowed to cross," Diez said. "They also need to address that one and they need to do it right, because in immigration you usually get one chance to do it right."

for now, it's calm. The question is, will migrants waiting in dangerous Mexican border towns be patient enough to pursue legal pathways into the United States, or will they cross the river again?

Biden administration officials say they were satisfied with the how the first day went, but Hoemland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is again asking for help from Congress, for funding and to fix what he calls a broken immigration system. 

SEE MORE: Unaccompanied child migrant dies in US custody

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