(CNN) — The Biden administration is bracing for possible mass migration to the U.S.-Mexico border when an emergency pandemic order put in place by former President Donald Trump’s administration ends, according to three sources familiar with the discussions.
Border authorities have relied on a public health policy, known as Title 42, to deport migrants at the US-Mexico border since March 2020. But, as the pandemic landscape evolves, discussions about suspension of that migration measure at the border have gained momentum, the sources said.
Internal documents show estimates of how many people are within hours or days of the US-Mexico border who might plan to immigrate to the US, according to one of the sources. Those estimates, of which first reported by AxiosThey include a possible 170,000 people who could reach the US southern border and some 25,000 migrants who are already in shelters in Mexico, the source added.
a coordination center
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) also created a “Southwest Border Coordination Center” at its headquarters to align the various agencies. DHS Deputy Secretary John Tien also asked department staff to volunteer at the border in an email sent to all employees, another source said.
In a statement, White House spokesman Vedant Patel said the administration is “doing (its) due diligence to prepare for potential border changes. That’s good governance in action.”
The White House has referred to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the public health policy that is being applied on the border between Mexico and the United States. The order remains in effect for families and adults. Over the weekend, the CDC ended the policy with regard to unaccompanied migrant minors.
The US Border Patrol made more than 158,000 apprehensions at the US southern border in February, according to recently released agency data. These figures include people who attempted to cross more than once. Arrests are expected to increase as the warmer months approach, as in previous years.
This week, the Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, visited Mexico and Costa Rica to discuss migration with government officials.