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Border Patrol in El Paso to arrest immigrants who entered the United States undetected

The US government announced Monday that it would send Border Patrol agents to El Paso, Texas, to arrest migrants who secretly crossed the southern border, saying those taken into custody could be deported, detained or placed in deportation proceedings.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said agents in El Paso will begin an operation Tuesday to arrest immigrants who cannot prove they were processed by the agency after entering the United States and released.

The operation is designed to target many of the thousands of migrants who have been sleeping on the streets of El Paso amid a spike in migrant crossings since the end of Title 42 public health restrictions on Thursday.

“As we have said repeatedly, individuals who do not have a valid basis for stay will be removed,” Troy Miller, acting chief of CBP, said in a statement. “Individuals should not listen to the lies of smugglers and instead use legitimate means of protection.”

Those found in El Paso without U.S. government documents will be processed so officials can determine whether they should be deported under Title 42 or placed in regular deportation proceedings and released with a notice to appear in court. Officials said immigrants deemed a threat to national security or public safety would be sent to long-term detention centers.

When immigrants are released from U.S. custody at the border, they receive official government documents, which may include an immigration court notice or an order to check in with immigration officials at their respective destinations.

Officials said they would generally refrain from arresting migrants near locations known as “safe areas” that provide essential services, such as shelters.

El Paso has been grappling with a sharp increase in immigrant arrivals in recent days, prompting local officials to issue a disaster declaration.

The increase in crossings near El Paso is part of a larger spike in immigration across the southern border as officials there prepare to close Title 42 as the national Covid-19 public health emergency expires.

The Border Patrol apprehended an average of 8,700 migrants a day over a three-day period last week, a 67% jump from an average of 5,200 in March, according to agency chief Raul Ortiz.

Department of Homeland Security officials say the number of immigrants crossing the southern border each day could exceed 10,000 after Title 42 expires.

Officials in border communities like El Paso and New York City, popular immigrant destinations, have urged the Biden administration to increase federal support to shelter and feed large groups of migrants. Meanwhile, centrist Democrats and Republicans in Washington, D.C., have accused the Biden administration of failing to properly prepare for the end of Title 42.

But the administration has argued that the recently announced measures increase deportation and asylum restrictions along with expanded opportunities for immigrants to legally enter the U.S. that will eventually prevent immigrants from traveling to the southern border.

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Camilo Montoya-Galvez


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