Responding to reports of a potential surge of migrants at the southern U.S. border spurred by reports of the imminent end of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Title 42 restrictions on May 11, 2023, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas says the United States is ready. Planned actions include a rule to deter smugglers that Mr. Mayorkas says will be finalized and implemented by May 11, and efforts to derail misinformation about open borders peddled by smugglers. “The border is not open, it has not been open and it will not be open subsequent to May 11,” he said. 

Also, Mexico has agreed to continue accepting Venezuelan, Haitian, Cuban, and Nicaraguan migrants turned away at the U.S. border, and to allow Hondurans, Guatemalans, and Salvadorans with family in the United States to live and work in Mexico. The United States is also opening migration centers in several countries, initially Guatemala and Colombia, to allow would-be migrants to apply for a legal pathway to the United States, Canada, or Spain. The United States and Mexico issued a related joint statement on May 2, 2023.

The Department of Homeland Security has launched an app, CBP One, for those wishing to apply for a legal pathway to the United States, such as asylum. However, according to reports, there are problems with a lack of access to phones or internet service, technical issues, and difficulties in obtaining appointments. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that it will implement measures to mitigate those issues, for example, by expanding the number of available appointments and prioritizing those who have been waiting the longest after setting up their profiles in the app.

Observers note that unauthorized border crossings and repeat crossings actually increased while Title 42 restrictions were in place, so its much-touted deterrent effect seems overrated. Many have called for comprehensive immigration reform legislation, although passage is unlikely in the current divided Congress.

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