SAN DIEGO/WASHINGTON, May 11 (Reuters) – The U.S. will lift COVID-19 border restrictions known as Title 42 on Thursday night, a major shift that has drawn tens of thousands of migrants to the U.S.-Mexico border, straining local communities and intensifying political divisions.
The number of migrants caught crossing illegally has climbed in recent weeks, with daily apprehensions surpassing 10,000 on Monday and Tuesday. U.S. border cities have struggled to shelter the new arrivals and provide transportation to onward destinations.
In the backdrop of the chaotic scenes, U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration is surging personnel and funds to the border while implementing a new regulation that will deny asylum to most migrants who cross the border illegally. The new measure will take effect when Title 42 ends along with the broad COVID public health emergency.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the new rule would mean tougher consequences for migrants crossing illegally who, if caught, could be deported and barred from the United States for five years if they do not qualify for asylum.
Republicans fault Biden, a Democrat seeking reelection in 2024, for scrapping the restrictive policies of Republican former President Donald Trump, his party’s frontrunner for the presidential race.