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Title 42 expected to expire Tuesday

DALLAS (NewsNation) — The Trump-era policy that allows border officials to turn away migrants at the southern border, known as Title 42, is expected to expire Tuesday after months of legal back and forth that began when the Biden administration sought to end the policy in the spring of 2022.

The controversial policy allows border officials to turn away some asylum seekers because of public health concerns brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Supreme Court last Monday temporarily stopped Title 42’s expiration, citing those same public health concerns. Indications were the policy would be lifted Tuesday, likely meaning an increase in migrant releases, according to NewsNation’s partner Border Report.

The Biden administration has yet to lay out any systemic changes to manage an expected surge of migrants if the restrictions end. And a bipartisan immigration bill in Congress has been buried just as Republicans are set to take control of the House.

The administration says once Title 42 ends, it instead will rely on Title 8, which expels migrants who do not show a legal basis to remain in the country.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is warning immigrants that the administration is continuing to enforce Title 42, after the Supreme Court temporarily halted the Trump-era policy’s expiration.

The DHS on Saturday said regardless of an immigrant’s nationality, “Anyone attempting to enter without authorization is subject to expulsion under Title 42.”

“Those who cannot be expelled pursuant to Title 42 may be placed in expedited removal and anyone ordered removed subject to a bar on entry for 5 years under Title 8,” the agency added.

The restrictions have been used more than 2.5 million times to expel migrants who crossed into the U.S. and to turn away many of those requesting asylum at the border.

In El Paso, Texas, record numbers either crossed undetected or were apprehended and released in recent weeks.

In response, the Texas National Guard was deployed last week at the border downtown and was expected to stay through Christmas. The city’s shelters are already packed beyond capacity and many migrants were forced to camp out in the streets in below-freezing weather.

El Paso is extending its state of emergency for 30 more days, as officials work to build up more shelter space. There are more than 1,800 migrants in Border Patrol custody and thousands more have been released to the streets.

DHS said 23,000 agents and officers are “working to secure” the Southwest border, adding that the U.S. government “continues to work closely with our partners in Mexico to reinforce coordinated enforcement operations to target human smuggling organizations and bring them to justice.”

“That collaboration includes migration checkpoints, additional resources and personnel, joint targeting of human smuggling organizations, and expanded information sharing related to transit nodes, hotels, stash houses, and staging locations,” the agency said.

Anyone who comes to the U.S. has the right to ask for asylum, but laws are narrow on who actually gets it. Under Biden, migrants arriving at the border are often let into the country and allowed to work while their cases progress. That process takes years because of a 2-million-case backlog in the immigration court system.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.