Immigration News Articles on Key Issues, Spring 2022

Compiled by the staff of the Corporate Responsibility office of the Benedictine Sisters, Boerne,Texas

President Biden Plans For More House Arrests For Immigrants Who Enter U.S. Illegally

By Benjamin Wermund, San Antonio Express-News Washington Bureau, March 30, 2022

  • The Biden administration could soon be placing thousands more migrants caught crossing the southern border under house arrest in the U.S. or monitoring them with ankle bracelets and phone apps, rather than sending them to detention facilities, under a budget proposal that would mark a significant shift in immigration policy.
  • The president’s budget calls for cutting thousands of beds in immigrant detention facilities — and shutting down two family detention centers in Texas — while spending $75 million more on alternative programs, such as monitoring migrants with ankle bracelets or phone check-ins. The administration estimates as many as 200,000 migrants could be enrolled in such programs by October, according to budget documents.
  • The president is also calling for $375 million to speed up the asylum system, including hiring more than 1,000 new U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officers to adjudicate claims on the border, rather than sending them to backlogged courts.
  • His budget request asks for more than $2 billion to stand up emergency shelters for unaccompanied children, an effort to avoid the overcrowding in Border Patrol facilities that sparked outrage a year ago. His budget would also spend roughly $150 million to fund attorneys for migrants in detention or facing deportation, which would be a first. The government has not paid those costs in the past.
  • The president’s budget calls for hiring 300 new Border Patrol agents and 300 new Border Patrol officials to process migrants. It would increase funding for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s victim assistance program by $12 million and spend $18 million to crack down on human trafficking.
  • The budget proposal comes as border crossings appear to be on the rise again. U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz said Tuesday that 7,000 migrants are being stopped crossing the border daily from Mexico, up from a daily average of about 5,900 in February, the Associated Press reported. The Biden administration has used Title 42 to expel migrants 426,819 times so far in the fiscal year that began Oct. 1, according to Border Patrol data. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reviewing the order and is expected to make a decision in the coming days on whether to keep it in place.
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Record-breaking surge of migrants anticipated at the US-Mexico border, Border Patrol chief says

By Priscilla Alvarez, CNN, March 25, 2022

  • Another record-breaking surge of migrants may attempt to cross the US-Mexico border this spring, alarming officials who are now rushing to build more facilities and lining up prison buses to help accommodate the new arrivals. The head of the US Border Patrol says he's getting ready for as many as 8,000 people to be apprehended daily, more than double the daily number of the 2019 surge under the Trump administration. That staggering number "will probably become the norm over the next 30 to 45 days," Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz told CNN in an exclusive interview.
  • There have already been 940,000 arrests this fiscal year, which started in October. Over the course of the last year, Border Patrol has at times faced 8,000 encounters a day. As officials prepare for potential mass migration to the US southern border, some sectors are already feeling the strain. In Del Rio, Texas, agents faced groups of hundreds of migrants turning themselves over to agents for six consecutive days. Facilities across the border are over capacity already and held over 16,000 migrants on Tuesday morning, Ortiz told CNN.
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Biden Administration Announces Asylum System Overhaul: What You Need To Know 

By Andrea Castillo, Los Angeles Times, March 24, 2020 

  • The Biden administration announced the final version of its long-awaited U.S. asylum overhaul Thursday [March 24], aiming to speed up processing at the border and alleviate backlogs throughout the country’s immigration courts. The new policy is scheduled to take effect May 28, two months after it’s published in the Federal Register. Asylum seekers will now have their claims heard by an asylum officer with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services within several months, if the plan works as intended, instead of waiting years for a final determination from an immigration judge. Under the rule, anyone denied protection by an asylum officer could request a reconsideration from Citizenship and Immigration Services within seven days. If turned down, the person could ask that an immigration judge review their application and later bring their case to the Board of Immigration Appeals and federal circuit courts. After all bids are exhausted, or if none are pursued, the person would be subject to deportation. The rule does not apply to unaccompanied children who arrive without a parent.
  • The backlog of pending immigration court cases has exploded in recent months, reaching nearly 1.6 million by December, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse. Under the new system, asylum officers will grant decisions within roughly 90 days. Immigration court appeals will generally take another 90 days, officials said. Under the proposed rule, the agency estimated it would need to hire 800 new employees and spend $180 million to be able to handle 75,000 cases annually. To qualify for asylum, immigrants must prove a fear of persecution in their home country based on one of five protected categories: political opinion, race, religion, nationality, or membership in a particular social group.
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Congress Ok's Money For More Immigration Judges But Case Backlog Continues To Worsen

By Sandra Sanchez, Border Report, March 25, 2022 

  • For each of the past seven fiscal years, Congress has appropriated additional money for the Department of Justice to hire more immigration judges. Congress approved money for 55 new immigration judges to be added in Fiscal Year 2016; 10 in Fiscal 2017; 100 in Fiscal 2018; 50 in Fiscal 2019; 100 in Fiscal 2020; 100 in Fiscal 2021; and 100 in Fiscal 2022. But as of December, there were only 576 immigration judges on board, and the backlog of immigration cases is at the highest in history. Currently, there is enough federal money for the Executive Office of Immigration Review, the agency that is part of DOJ that oversees the U.S. immigration court system, to fund 634 immigration judges. As of the end of February, there were over 1.7 million pending immigration cases, according to Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC). From Oct. 1 through Feb. 28, immigration courts received 344,604 new cases, but the courts completed only 108,610 cases during that period, TRAC reports. The new money allocated in Fiscal 2022 is over $760 million to hire 100 immigration judges, plus staff, as well as to open new immigration courtrooms throughout the country.
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Texas Continues Imprisoning Migrants Without Filing Charges Or Appointing Lawyers, Court Filings Claim

By Jolie McCullough, Texas Tribune, March 18, 2022

  • As court fights continue over the constitutionality of Gov. Greg Abbott’s mass arrests of migrants at the Texas-Mexico border, new legal filings describe an ongoing and consistent pattern of men being illegally detained for a month or more as their cases stagnate in overwhelmed courts. Nearly eight months after the state began arresting migrants and prosecuting them on trespassing charges under Abbott’s order [Operation Lone Star], a group of defense attorneys told the state’s highest criminal court that some men are still locked up for months before the courts give them an attorney or prosecutors file misdemeanor charges against them, in violation of state laws. Texas laws require that criminal defendants be assigned an attorney within three days of asking for one, and misdemeanor defendants be released from jail pending trial if prosecutors do not file charges within 30 days after arrest. Those deadlines are regularly surpassed, according to the legal briefing from Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, which represents hundreds of migrant men accused of trespassing on private property.
  • Two men were detained in a state prison for nearly five months, unable to post bonds of $1,500, without being assigned lawyers or having any charges filed against them, defense lawyers said. And efforts to fix the due-process violations and get the men out of prison, attorneys say, have been met with further delay by court officials in rural Kinney County, where the majority of Abbott’s trespassing arrests have occurred. 




Interfaith Welcome Coalition - San Antonio[1] - Title 42 Position Statement

By the Interfaith Welcome Coalition Advocacy Committee, April 7, 2022

 From our uniquely informed perspective, IWC-SA expresses support for the current administration's decision to terminate Title 42 which has created extraordinary hardship for people made vulnerable along our border during the pandemic. That said, terminating this discriminatory practice that has disproportionately burdened people of color seeking refuge is not sufficient.  The previous administration's efforts to dismantle existing resources to facilitate the processing of asylum seekers have left our Southern border incapacitated. Reopening the border to asylum seekers is a moral obligation, but it will likely overwhelm existing resources.  

IWC-SA stands ready to continue our work in response to what will likely be an increased flow of people from across the globe that will undoubtedly pass through our compassionate city with material, social and spiritual needs. This has been our reality in ebbs and flows for almost a decade and we are exhausted by the failures of our elected officials to act with courage and decency to address this growing humanitarian tragedy. In caring for the people passing through our community, we have learned about contextual realities understood as ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors influencing the flow of migration.  We have also been reminded of the various ways in which our post-war foreign policies have destabilized many of the countries in Latin America to serve American economic interests. In a sense, the past few decades' increase in the flow of desperate people seeking asylum comes down to America reaping what it has sown. Keeping all these factors in mind as well as our relationally informed perspective on the human tragedy at our southern border, we call upon the President and elected officials in Congress to reimagine an immigration system that first and foremost achieves the goal of safeguarding those fleeing 21st-century push factors. These include both state-sponsored and multi-national criminal syndicate-initiated violence that makes remaining in one’s home country untenable. They also include people fleeing abject poverty exacerbated by geopolitical conflicts and climate disruption as well as other circumstances that force a parent to risk everything for their children’s well-being.  

Current asylum law (passed in 1980) is based on definitions of a “refugee/stateless person”[2] going back to deliberations in the immediate aftermath of WWII. The radical changes in our global society that have occurred since that time make current asylum laws largely obsolete and woefully inadequate to address the needs of innocent people forced to migrate due to factors never imagined in 1951. Congress needs to pass comprehensive protections for those forced to seek refuge in foreign lands rather than installing barriers meant to deter their yearning to breathe safe and free. As a companion to the protections for those seeking safety, Congress needs to pass laws reimagining immigration in its totality as a life-giving component of our national identity that strengthens our union and the economy that serves our union.

Until this comprehensive reimagining of immigration and asylum is entered into faithfully with the goal of creating a more perfect union, dedicated people like those who make up our coalition will continue to do all we can to compensate. Know this: Coalitions like ours are meant to be temporary alliances to fulfill a specific need. We do not have the material or human resources to meet the growing need and vulnerable people will suffer because of this reality. Government of, by, and for the people must respond with life-giving legislation that manifests the greatest of American values to relieve the burden on those serving and being served.  

Justice and compassion delayed are justice and compassion denied.  Do not delay! 

[1] The Interfaith Welcome Coalition - a grassroots coalition of people guided by a mandate clearly articulated in the Abrahamic traditions and beyond to “welcome the stranger” - formed in San Antonio when children began crossing our Southern border in search of safety.  Our proximity as a transportation hub for more than half of the Texas border has placed a particular burden on our coalition and provided a vantage point into the failures of our immigration policies - especially our antiquated asylum law.  It is our belief that immigration reform is not enough because the original statutes have never been a reflection of the American values now celebrated by those who look with admiration upon the words of Emma Lazarus that animate the spirit of Lady Liberty.  Our coalition members who pivot from the border to gaze on the distant New York harbor ministering daily in the shadow of the Mother of Exiles knowing that she represents the better angels of our nature.  We stand in solidarity with those we are blessed to serve and call America to its highest virtue, finally.

[2]  Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, 28 July 1951 (


Biden Administration To Lift Title 42 Border Policy, Officials Say

By Michelle Hackman, Wall Street Journal, March 30, 2022

  • The Biden administration plans to end its use of Title 42, a Trump-era pandemic border policy that allows the government to immediately turn away migrants at the southern border, by late May, according to a draft of the order viewed by The Wall Street Journal and officials familiar with the matter. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says in its order, which the agency plans to issue later this week, that it is taking the step because “there is no longer a serious danger” that migrants would introduce or spread Covid-19 inside immigration-detention facilities.
  • The CDC is delaying the implementation of the order until May 23 to allow the Department of Homeland Security to prepare for what the government anticipates will be a sharp rise in crossings this spring. The order is pending at the White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs and could become final as soon as Wednesday [March 30]. The CDC faces a Wednesday [March 30] deadline to decide whether to end the policy as part of the administration’s periodic review, which it has conducted every 60 days.
  • Once Title 42 comes to an end, the government will once more need to consider any asylum claims made by migrants at the border, which require briefly detaining them before they can be released into the U.S. or deported. Under Title 42, any migrant asking for humanitarian protection could still be expelled back to Mexico or deported to another country without a consideration of their claims, though in practice Mexico limited how many people it was willing to take back. In preparation for the end of Title 42, the Border Patrol started vaccinating migrants it takes into custody this week, DHS confirmed on Monday [March 28].



Arizona Among Three States Suing To Block Biden From Ending Title 42 For Asylum Seekers

By Brenda Muñoz Murguia, Cronkite News, April 4, 2022

  • Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich is suing the Biden administration for deciding to lift Title 42, the policy that closed the border to migrants and asylum seekers as a public health and safety measure during the pandemic. The lawsuit, which also has Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt as plaintiffs, argues that President Joe Biden violated federal procedures that require publishing notices of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register, and that most policies have a 30-day delayed effective date. The suit, filed Sunday [April 3] in the U.S. Western District Court of Louisiana, seeks to halt the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determination that migrants at the southern border are “no longer a serious danger to the public health” and to keep Title 42 in place. The lawsuit says the plaintiffs are challenging “an imminent, man-made, self-inflicted calamity: the abrupt elimination of the only safety valve preventing this Administration’s disastrous border policies from devolving into an unmitigated chaos and catastrophe.” The Biden administration said it would begin receiving asylum cases as of May 23. 



Immigration Snag Threatens To Stall $10 Billion Coronavirus Package

By Mike DeBonis and Rachel Roubein, Washington Post, April 5, 2022

  • On Monday [April 4], Senate negotiators announced a $10 billion bipartisan deal that repurposes previously appropriated coronavirus relief funds. At least half of the new dollars would be used to develop and purchase therapeutics, with roughly $750 million for research and clinical trials to fight future variants and build vaccine manufacturing capacity.
  • But the agreement ran into a political buzz saw Tuesday [April 5], with Republicans and a handful of Democrats complaining about mixed messages from the Biden administration as it seeks to remove a pandemic mitigation measure at the border while simultaneously demanding billions of dollars to address the continuing spread of the virus.
  • Underscoring the impasse, a procedural vote to advance the $10 billion package failed Tuesday [April 5] on a 52-to-47 vote, with GOP senators protesting the lack of amendments. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), said there was “pretty strong” desire in the GOP ranks to reverse the border decision, which would lift a public health order known as Title 42 that, for the past two years, has overridden asylum laws and allowed the federal government to summarily remove migrants amid the pandemic. Homeland security officials have warned that lifting the order, set to happen in late May, could badly exacerbate a surge of migrants to the southern border, where they would be able to seek asylum in the United States
  • Lawmakers from both parties have publicly expressed concern that federal agencies are unprepared for the probable influx. “What I’m waiting for is a plan,” said Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.). “If they’ve got a plan then I would consider [lifting Title 42]. Otherwise I don’t have a problem keeping it in place.” White House officials also stressed that the debate over Title 42 should be kept separate from the coronavirus funding package.  The Biden administration had already started winding down a program to reimburse health-care providers for coronavirus tests, treatments and vaccinations to uninsured Americans. The federal government also cut states’ allotments for a critical covid-19 treatment. 
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Critics Doubt Administration Ready For Fallout From Ending Title 42

By Emily Sacia and Alexia Stanbridge, Cronkite News, April 5, 2022

  • For immigration advocates, the end to Title 42 couldn’t come soon enough, but critics warned that it’s coming too soon and will “open the floodgates” to migrants at the southern border. “When Title 42 goes away, not only is it going to make our job somehow even more impossible to do, it creates this potential for all these people to now request asylum, regardless of the legitimacy of their claims,” said Jon Anfinsen, president of National Border Patrol Council’s Del Rio sector.
  • But advocates disagree, with one saying Tuesday [April 5] that Title 42 should never have been used to turn away migrants at the border in the first place, and that its end is “long overdue.” “Title 42 is not an immigration policy,” said Vanessa Cárdenas, deputy director for America’s Voice, which advocates for migrants. “It is a public health policy that was used by the Trump administration to deter immigrants from coming into the country.”
  • The policy was implemented in March 2020 as a public health measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and has since been invoked to more than 1.7 million migrants. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which initially called for the rule, said last week that it is no longer needed to protect the public health. The Biden administration, which has been under pressure from immigration groups to end the practice, subsequently announced that it would lift Title 42 on May 23, a delay requested by the CDC to let it ramp up a mandatory vaccination program for migrants.


  • But the move comes as the border is seeing record numbers of migrants, according to Customs and Border Protection data. Of the 838,685 migrants encountered at the southern border from October through February, just over 52% have been expelled under Title 42, or 437,763 so far in fiscal 2022. Union officials told lawmakers that Border Patrol agents could be encountering up to 12,000 migrants a day by the end of May and as many as 18,000 a day in later months. But the administration insists it is taking steps that will allow it to handle the thousands of asylum-seeking migrants who are showing up now, as well as any increases. Among the steps unveiled by DHS are plans to shift officers to border hot spots as needed, to expand a COVID-19 vaccination program for migrants and to cut the time it takes to process an asylum claim from years to months. The plan includes $375 million to hire officials to expedite claims processing, and more than $1 billion to build “soft-sided facilities” to detain migrants as well as transport and treat them.
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Garcia: Lifting Title 42 Will Be Unpopular. It’s Also The Right Thing To Do.

By Gilbert Garcia, San Antonio Express-News, April 9, 2022

  • For most of Biden’s 15 months in office, we’ve heard Texas Republicans such as Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Congressman Chip Roy complain that our southern border is “wide open,” a playground for fentanyl and cartel violence. At the same time, Biden has angered progressive Democrats by keeping Title 42 — a directive initiated by Biden’s Republican predecessor, Donald Trump — in place for this long. Republicans (and some moderate Democrats) warn that Biden’s decision to rescind Title 42 next month will lead to an unmanageable surge of migrants on this country’s southern border. In response, Abbott hyped a plan to begin transporting migrants from Texas to Washington, D.C., but only if they volunteered to go.
  • It’s important to recognize the stresses that come with living in this country’s border communities. When there are huge influxes of migrants coming to the border, places like Hidalgo, McAllen and Del Rio have to cope with it. People have a right to come to the border and seek asylum in this country. At times, the volume of those requests can be overwhelming and the question of what to do with asylum seekers while the process plays out can be daunting. But you don’t solve long-term immigration issues with short-term public-health orders.
  • In the two years since Trump authorized its use, Title 42 has blocked an estimated 1.7 million attempts to cross the border. Many of those attempts, however, have come from repeat efforts by individuals who keep returning after they get turned away. In other words, part of the reason for the high number of border encounters this country has experienced over the past couple of years has been that asylum seekers rejected under Title 42 just keep coming back and trying again. Title 42 doesn’t prevent people from sneaking across the border. It bars individuals who voluntarily turn themselves in from getting a fair hearing. It doesn’t block illegal immigration. It stymies the legal process of applying for asylum.
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Idaho Joins Lawsuit Challenging End Of Trump Administration’s COVID-19 Border Policy 

By Ryan Suppe, Idaho Statesman, April 12, 2022 

  • Idaho will join a lawsuit challenging the termination of a federal policy that slowed immigration into the U.S. during the coronavirus pandemic. Idaho Gov. Brad Little and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden are adding Idaho to a list of states attempting to block the termination next month of Title 42. After May 23, the government again plans to detain migrants before they’re deported or released for asylum, raising the potential for overcrowding at border facilities as an expected surge arrives. This month, Republicans in Arizona, Louisiana and Missouri filed a petition asking a district court to vacate the Biden administration order terminating Title 42. 
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Beto O’Rourke Knocks Biden For Ending Title 42 Without A Plan To Deal With Influx Of Migrants

By James Barragán, Texas Tribune, April 12, 2022

  • Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke knocked the Biden administration for failing to give border communities a plan for dealing with the number of migrants at their doorstep before saying he’ll end the pandemic-era emergency health order that allows federal officials to turn people away at the border next month. “It does not make sense to end this until there is a real plan and the capacity in place to handle those and address those that come over,” O’Rourke said in an interview with The Texas Tribune. “I have yet to hear a plan from the Biden administration to address the dynamic we will have on the border once Title 42 ends.”
  • Last month, the Biden administration said it would end Title 42, the emergency health order that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security cited in September to deport 7,000 asylum-seekers from Haiti who had gathered at the international bridge in Del Rio. The administration plans to end the emergency health order in May, and federal officials expect the number of migrants at the country’s southern border to drastically increase in the following months.
  • O’Rourke has previously called for the federal government to end Title 42, saying it has led to repeat crossings that contribute to an overwhelmed Border Patrol staff, and has pushed instead for a better system for processing asylum claims. O’Rourke called the health order counterproductive. “What it has done is produced a situation where the same person is crossing multiple times a week, and under Title 42 that Border Patrol agent simply turns that person back around and then that person tries to cross the next day,” he said. “They’re not arrested, not detained, there are no consequences for someone who is not following our laws when they try to come into this country, and it means that this country is not following its laws when it comes to those who are trying to make a legitimate claim for asylum.” DHS officials said they could face up to 18,000 migrants a day at the southern border once Title 42 ends. 
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U.S. Bishops’ Migration Chairman Addresses Termination Of Title 42

By the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, April 5, 2022



Violence In Mexico And Central America Driving Large Waves Of Migration

By Reuters, March 24, 2022 

  • Waves of migration through Mexico and Central America, and people who go missing, will increase in 2022 due to high levels of violence in the region, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said. Immigration authorities in Mexico detained 307,679 migrants in 2021, a 68% increase compared with 182,940 detentions in 2019, according to government data.
  • Disappearances in the region have not slowed either, the Red Cross said in a report. Mexico recently surpassed 100,000 people reported missing in the country. In El Salvador, 488 missing person cases remain unsolved, and in Guatemala, the number of missing women rose to six a day, the Red Cross report said.
  • Meanwhile, the Biden administration on Thursday [March 24] rolled out a sweeping new regulation that aims to speed up asylum processing and deportations at the US-Mexico border, amid a record number of migrants seeking to enter the US. The announcement of the new rule came as US officials are debating whether to end a separate Covid-era policy that has blocked most asylum claims at the border.
  • The asylum overhaul could provide a faster way to process border crossers if the Covid order is ended. The final asylum rule, which will go into effect in late May, will authorize asylum officers to accept or reject migrants’ claims for protection soon after they cross the border, in an effort to resolve them in months rather than years by bypassing backlogged US immigration courts.
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Border Crossings Rise As U.S. Nears Decision On Asylum Limits

By Acacia Coronado, Associated Press, March 29, 2022

  • About 7,100 migrants are being stopped crossing the border daily from Mexico, U.S. authorities said Tuesday [March 29], signaling they are preparing for even more increases as the Biden administration nears a decision on whether to end sweeping asylum restrictions designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz said 1,500 Cubans were stopped over the previous day, well more than double the daily average from February. Homeland Security said U.S. authorities encountered migrants an average of 7,101 times a day during the week ended Monday [March 28], compared to a daily average of about 6,800 in February among people crossing illegally and showing up at official crossings.
  • Ending COVID restrictions on asylum “will likely cause a significant increase” in arrivals at the U.S. border with Mexico, Homeland Security wrote in a 16-page document outlining more staffing and other measures to deal with more people. The department said more arrivals also reflected long-term forces driving migration to the United States, such as earthquakes, natural disasters and economic decline that results in food and housing shortages. Homeland Security officials said they were planning for three scenarios: the current level of illegal border crossings, 12,000 and 18,000, an astounding number but one that they said was simply to be prepared and not a projection. The department said it created a Southwest Border Coordinating Center to respond to any sharp increases, with MaryAnn Tierney, a regional director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as interim leader and a Border Patrol official as deputy.
  • Since March 2020, the U.S. has used a public health order aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19 to expel migrants more than 1.7 million times without a chance to seek asylum. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to decide this week whether to extend Title 42, named for a 1944 public health law. 
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ICE Discontinues Or Limits Use Of Four Detention Facilities, Citing Inadequate Conditions

By Camilo Montoya-Galvez, CBS News, March 25, 2022 

  • The Biden administration directed U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Friday [March 25] to stop holding immigrants at an Alabama county jail and limit its use of three other detention facilities, citing inadequate conditions, according to an agency notice obtained by CBS News.
  • Acting ICE director Tae Johnson instructed officials to no longer use the Etowah County Detention Center in northern Alabama due to "a long history of serious deficiencies identified during facility inspections." Officials said the detention facility does not hold significant operational value to ICE. Johnson also announced that ICE will pause its use of the Glades County Detention Center in southern Florida, saying any future detainee transfers to the facility will be dependent on compliance with internal detention standards.
  • According to the notice, ICE will reduce the number of detainees held at the Winn Correctional Center, a facility in rural Louisiana run by a for-profit prison company, citing staffing shortages. The agency said it has tasked an official to monitor conditions at the facility, which is undergoing renovations.
  • Meanwhile, the Alamance County Detention Facility in North Carolina will transition from a long-term detention facility to a 72-hour processing site, the notice said. ICE officials cited concerns about conditions at the county jail where the detainees are held, including a lack of outdoor recreation.
  • Last year, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas directed ICE to stop using two detention sites in Georgia and Massachusetts where detainees had reported mistreatment. As of earlier this month, ICE was holding just over 20,000 immigrants in its detention system, which consists mainly of county jails and for-profit prisons, agency statistics show.  As of earlier this month, approximately 192,000 immigrants were enrolled in alternatives to detention programs, ICE figures show.  
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Texas Guard’s Border Mission Needs An Additional $531 Million To Continue Past This Month, Top General Says

By James Barragán, The Texas Tribune, and Davis Winkie, Military Times, April 5, 2022 

  • Texas Military Department leaders told the state Senate Border Security Committee they need more than half a billion dollars in state funds to continue Gov. Greg Abbott’s controversial border mission through the end of the fiscal year. The cost for Operation Lone Star, which has deployed 10,000 service members, has ballooned to more than $2 billion a year. That is well beyond the $412 million the Legislature budgeted for the military department’s participation in Operation Lone Star, and state officials have already transferred another $480 million to the agency to keep the lights on through the spring. The military department’s assessment that it will need another $531 million to fully fund the mission beyond May 1 drew a sharp rebuke from Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa of McAllen, the only Democrat on the three-member committee. Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, who leads the committee, said the military department had already spent nearly half of the $287 million the Legislature had allocated for the department to pay salary and wages. Birdwell said he assumed Abbott would allocate more money to cover pay for the service members on the mission. The state’s fiscal year ends in August. 
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Gov. Abbott’s Threat To Bus Migrants To Washington Isn’t Quite What He Made It Out To Be

By Jasper Scherer, San Antonio Express-News, April 7, 2022

  • When Gov. Greg Abbott announced Wednesday [April 6] that Texas would transport apprehended migrants to Washington, D.C., he left the impression that people would be forcibly shipped off to the U.S. Capitol as soon as they crossed the border illegally and were rounded up by state authorities. But a few hours after Abbott rolled out the plan at a press conference, the governor’s office revealed several new details that painted a much different picture.
  • In a news release, Abbott’s office clarified that Texas would only transport migrants to Washington — and other destinations outside the state — if they wanted to go there and had already been processed and released by federal authorities. The governor, who is running for re-election and thought to be considering a future bid for the White House, said he issued the policy in response to President Joe Biden’s move to lift a Trump-era policy used to turn away asylum seekers at the border 1.2 million times since 2020.
  • Federal immigration officials have projected as many as 18,000 daily crossings — roughly triple the daily average in February — once the Trump-era rule, called Title 42, expires next month. Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd, whose agency is overseeing the busing operation, said the trips to Washington would begin Thursday [April 7]. He did not say where in Texas the initial trips would begin.
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Texas Border Officials Worry That Greg Abbott’s Order To Increase Vehicle Inspections Will Hurt Local Economies

By James Barragán, Texas Tribune, April 7, 2022

  • A day after Gov. Greg Abbott announced that his plan to conduct “enhanced safety inspections” of commercial vehicles crossing into Texas could “dramatically slow” traffic across the border, local officials and business groups are still trying to gauge the potential impact on their economy, which depends on trade with Mexico.
  • On Wednesday [April 6], Abbott directed the Department of Public Safety to immediately begin enhanced inspections of commercial vehicles crossing into the state from Mexico, a move aimed at stopping the large number of migrants crossing into the state. Abbott took that step as federal officials prepare for thousands more migrants at the border in May, when the Biden administration ends a pandemic-era emergency order [Title 42] that allowed immigration officials to turn away migrants, even those seeking asylum. Without that order, federal officials say they could be overwhelmed by the large number of migrants expected at the border this summer.
  • Abbott is targeting commercial vehicles because he said they are used by drug cartels to smuggle migrants and drugs through the ports of entry. He said DPS troopers would conduct enhanced inspection of commercial trucks “as they cross the international ports of entry.” But it is unclear how the directive will work. Federal authorities already inspect commercial trucks as they pass the ports of entry and state troopers would have no authority in federal jurisdictions. Troopers could do further inspections after the trucks get past the federal points, as they have done in the past and continue to do in some areas like Laredo. But increased inspections there could lead to substantial delays in the flow of northbound traffic. State authorities could also choose to set up checkpoints for commercial trucks further inland to avoid a bottleneck at the ports. But that would allow potential smugglers to disperse and find other ways to move their cargo once they’ve crossed the port of entry. Nearly $442 billion in trade flowed through Texas ports of entry in 2021, according to the Texas Center for Border Economic and Enterprise Development at Texas A&M International University in Laredo. 
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International Trade Halted At Texas Border Crossings As Truckers Protest Greg Abbott’s New Inspections

By Mitchell Ferman, James Barragán and Uriel J. García, Texas Tribune, April 11, 2022 

  • Commercial traffic at a key South Texas border crossing has stopped after Mexican truckers on Monday [April 11] blocked north- and southbound lanes on the Mexico side of the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge in protest of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to have state troopers inspect northbound commercial vehicles — historically a job done by the federal government.
  • The bridge connecting Pharr and Reynosa is the busiest trade crossing in the Rio Grande Valley and handles the majority of the produce that crosses into the U.S. from Mexico, including avocados, broccoli, peppers, strawberries and tomatoes.
  • On Monday [April 11], with trucks backed up for miles in Reynosa for the fifth day in a row, some produce importers in Texas said they have waited days for their goods to arrive and already had buyers cancel orders. International bridges elsewhere in the Valley, as well as in Eagle Pass, El Paso and Laredo, have also seen delays, with many commercial products produced in Mexico — like electronics, vehicle parts and medical instruments — also held up.
  • A similar protest appeared to be playing out in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, on Monday [April 11] afternoon, affecting traffic into and out of El Paso, according to Border Report. In response to the Biden administration’s recent announcement that it plans to end Title 42, Abbott ordered the Texas Department of Public Safety to increase its inspections of commercial vehicles, which he said drug cartels use to smuggle humans and drugs into the United States. At times, DPS troopers appear to be checking every commercial vehicle that crosses select international bridges, with each inspection taking between 45 minutes and an hour. Mexican news outlets reported that about 500 truckers are blocking southbound traffic into Mexico to prevent the entrance of U.S. trucks. Truckers told El Mañana in Reynosa that they had waited three to four days at the international bridge and were running out of fuel while they waited.
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Truckers Block Texas Border Crossing To Protest Gov. Abbott's New Rules

By Astrid Galván, Axios, April 12, 2022

  • Commercial truckers bringing in produce and other goods from Mexico are protesting a new rule by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott requiring additional inspection, resulting in extremely long wait times and the shutdown of at least one border crossing. Mexico is the U.S.'s biggest source of agricultural imports, and the U.S. relies on an intricate, but relatively speedy inspection system at the southern border to get goods through. The U.S. imported nearly $34 billion worth of agricultural products in 2020, according to government data. Dante L. Galeazzi, CEO and president of the Texas International Produce Association, wrote in a letter to Abbott that his policy "has wreaked havoc up and down our supply chain and is likely to leave state store shelves with limited fresh produce supplies." According to a study from Texas A&M, fresh produce arriving from Mexico not only employs nearly 8,000 Texans but is also responsible for $850M in economic impact to the state," Galeazzi wrote.
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Truck Drivers Protest Increased Inspections Issued By Gov. Abbott; CBP Calls Reviews 'Unnecessary'

By Martha Pskowski, El Paso Times, April 12, 2022

Beto O'Rourke, Trucking Companies Say Abbott 'Wreaked Havoc' At Border With Latest Crackdown

By Jeremy Wallace, Austin Bureau, April 12, 2022

  • Fresh produce and other goods were again facing delays in making it across the Texas-Mexico border Tuesday [April 12] as shipping companies warn that the latest development in Gov. Greg Abbott’s security crackdown is adding to supply chain problems that have plagued the nation for months.
  • Abbott last week [April 3-9] stepped up vehicle inspections at Texas ports of entry, delaying each truck by at least 45 minutes to an hour — a move the governor called necessary because of the failure of the Biden administration to secure the border. Commercial trucks at some bridges in Laredo and El Paso were reporting double or triple the average wait times, stirring concern that shipments to grocery stores could start to become a problem.
  • At one point Tuesday [April 12], it was taking trucks in El Paso five hours to get across the Bridge of the Americas into Texas.
  • On Monday [April 11], a border crossing in Hidalgo County was completely shut to commercial traffic as truckers in Mexico set up a blockade to protest the delays, which are affecting their pay.
  • On Tuesday [April 12], truckers in Juárez followed suit, blocking all trucks coming from El Paso into Mexico to pressure Abbott to change course, the El Paso Times reported.
  • On Monday [April 11], DPS officials reported that they had inspected almost 3,400 trucks and found more than 800 with serious safety issues such as defective brakes, bad tires and poor lighting. Democrat Beto O’Rourke, who will compete against Abbott in the Nov. 1 election, is wasting no time seizing on the issue.
  • On Monday [April 11], he had a livestream of the trucking delays in Laredo, and on Tuesday [April 12], he was in McAllen blasting Abbott for his latest “stunt,” saying the governor is hurting the economy just to show he’s tough on immigration.
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Biden, Democrats Face A Growing Political Headache As Immigration Clash Intensifies

By Sahil Kapur, NBC News, April 11, 2022

  • The president faces a two-track challenge: The Democratic base is unhappy with the lack of progress on pro-immigration goals, and the Republican electorate is fired up over the issue as the party’s lawmakers and media figures stoke fears of migration.
  • Surveys indicate most Americans disapprove of Biden’s handling of immigration, including one conducted by a firm affiliated with the president, commissioned by an immigrant rights group. A Pew Research Center poll last month found that 68 percent of Republicans rated immigration as “very important” to their vote in the 2022 elections, compared to just 34 percent of Democrats. The National Republican Campaign Committee has tested attacks and “contrast” messages about the border. In March, its poll of battleground districts found that 78 percent of voters were more likely to back a Republican candidate who works to “stop dangerous cartels from bringing drugs into America.” And 86 percent back “securing our border to stop drug smuggling and human trafficking,” according to a findings shared with NBC News by a source familiar with the poll.
  • The administration has also faced internal fears that ending certain Trump-era rules could spur a surge of newcomers and asylum-seekers that Congress hasn't provided enough resources to handle.
  • Immigration advocates take a different view. They argue Biden’s woes are a result of the White House and many Democrats being too cautious on the issue, which they say has disappointed supporters and left the field open for conservatives to weaponize the issue with misleading claims and anti-immigrant sentiments. The issue is complicating Biden’s ability to counter Covid-19 amid fears of a new variant and recent infections among lawmakers, Cabinet officials and White House staff in Washington.
  • Republicans demanded an amendment to a bipartisan $10 billion Covid relief deal that would reinstate Title 42. When Democratic leaders rejected that, calling the issues unrelated, they voted it down. Congress left town last week for a two-week recess without passing it. The root of the challenge is the mismatch between law and resources. Federal law grants people the right to apply for asylum and make their case. But when applications rise, the system gets strained. Holding facilities fill up. Courts are backlogged. Wait times grow. Keeping track of the migrants becomes a challenge.
  • Biden’s comprehensive immigration bill, which includes provisions to overhaul asylum, is dead on arrival in Congress due to the wafer-thin Democratic majorities. Even the popular American Dream and Promise Act of 2021 to legalize young people who have lived in the U.S. for years faces no chance of breaking a GOP Senate filibuster. And the courts have blocked Biden from ending former President Donald Trump’s policy requiring asylum-seekers to “remain in Mexico” while awaiting their day in court.
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The Crisis In Refugee Protection (And The Role Of Everyday Catholics)

By Donald Kerwin, Our Sunday Visitor, April 4, 2022


The Battle Over ‘Remain In Mexico’ Shows How U.S. Immigration Policy Has Reached ‘Peak Confusion’

By Madeleine Carlisle, Time, April 25, 2022

  • On April 26, the Biden Administration will argue before the U.S. Supreme Court that it has the authority to end a controversial Trump-era policy that requires migrants seeking asylum in the United States to wait in Mexico while their claims are reviewed—even as it has signaled a possible increase of the use of that same policy in the interim.
  • The Biden Administration has attempted to end the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP)—often referred to as the “remain in Mexico” policy—since June 2021. Texas and Missouri challenged the move, arguing the Administration does not have the authority to end the policy the way that it did. Now, the Supreme Court will decide whether the Administration must continue implementing the policy until Congress takes action. MPP is not the only Trump-era immigration policy the Administration is seeking to end.
  • On April 1, the Biden Administration announced plans to lift Title 42, a public health policy that allows the federal government to immediately expel anyone who attempts to make an unauthorized crossing into the U.S. in the name of preventing the spread of COVID-19. Unlike under MPP, migrants can be expelled en masse under Title 42 without being given the right to file an asylum claim. States have challenged the Biden Administration’s authority to end both policies, and ongoing litigation has complicated whether the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can lift the policies the way it wants to.
  • In an April 1 call with reporters, a DHS official told reporters that they will “employ” MPP in “much greater numbers post-Title 42” to manage the flow of migrants at the border. “We are under a court order to reimplement MPP in good faith,” the official continued, “and as part of those good faith efforts, we have been systematically increasing our enrollment under MPP.” If the Biden Administration gets its wish and courts affirm it can end both contested immigration policies, lawmakers in both parties worry there could be a surge in people arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border. Without Title 42 or MPP in place, America’s immigration policy would largely return to what it looked like during the Obama years.
  • Prior to 2019, migrants arriving at the border were either processed in immigration court or subject to expedited removal. Whether or not they were detained was subject to availability of detention facilities and discretion. But now there is a much greater volume of people arriving at the border, Brown says, and more diversity of nationalities seeking to enter the country, which can complicate the deportation process. Even if the Biden Administration wins before the Supreme Court, MPP won’t go away overnight. The case will go back down to the federal district judge in Texas, who will decide whether the Biden Administration’s October 2021 attempt to end MPP was valid.
  • So realistically, even if the Supreme Court sides with the Administration, MPP will still be around for at least several more months. And if the Biden Administration loses before the Supreme Court, MPP would likely stay in place until Congress takes action, which probably wouldn’t be any time soon, as the midterms loom and border security once again appears to be a key issue for voters. Regardless of what happens to MPP, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have also pushed against the Biden Administration’s move to end Title 42, arguing there could be a crisis at the border at the end of May.
  • On April 7, five Democrats and six Republican Senators introduced a bill that would prevent DHS from lifting Title 42 without a detailed plan to prevent a wave of migration in its wake. And over 20 states have joined a lawsuit initially filed by Arizona, Louisiana, and Missouri on April 3 asking a judge to immediately block the Administration from ending the policy, arguing Title 42 is a crucial tool stopping a “catastrophe” at the border.
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Some Texas Republicans push for Gov. Greg Abbott to use state personnel to deport migrants

By Patrick Svitek, Texas Tribune, April 22, 2022

  • As Gov. Greg Abbott takes extraordinary measures in the name of border security, some on the right are pushing him to go one unprecedented and legally questionable step further: declare an “invasion” under the U.S. Constitution and begin using state personnel to deport migrants.
  • It’s an incendiary idea that would spark immediate court challenges given that immigration law enforcement is a federal responsibility. But it has been gaining steam as Texas confronts the lifting of Title 42, the pandemic health rule that immigration authorities have used to rapidly expel migrants, including asylum-seekers. A group of former Trump administration officials has been pressuring Abbott to enact the plan, as has the National Border Patrol Council, the union that represents agents and support staff of the U.S. Border Patrol.
  • A group of state lawmakers is pressing the attorney general to weigh in on the legality of the proposal, and Abbott acknowledged Thursday he has been studying it. Abbott has already responded to the Biden administration’s decision to rescind Title 42 by introducing a commercial vehicle inspection policy at the border that upended international trade and prompted frantic negotiations with border Mexican governors to bring the inspection to an end. It was a high-stakes gambit that dented the economy, but Abbott has been unapologetic about the fiasco, raising the question of what he could do next.
  • The constitutional “invasion” idea has long simmered on the fringes of the right, but its growing prominence shows the lengths to which Republicans are willing to go to try to secure the border on their own under President Joe Biden. Under the plan, Texas would invoke Article IV, Section 4, and Article I, Section 10, of the U.S. Constitution to exercise extraordinary wartime powers and use state law enforcement— Department of Public Safety officers and state National Guard troops — to immediately turn back migrants at the border.
  • The Center for Renewing America, a conservative think tank led by Ken Cuccinelli, a former Homeland Security official under Trump, has been leading the charge to get Abbott to declare an invasion, criticizing his border-security efforts as inadequate so far. And Brandon Judd, the head of the National Border Patrol Council — one of Abbott’s most visible endorsers for reelection — recently said Abbott should “absolutely” declare an invasion. 
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What To Know About Title 42, The Trump-Era Policy Now Central To The Border Debate

By Deepa Shivaram, NPR, April 24, 2022

  • What is Title 42? Title 42 comes from a federal law that dates back to 1944 meant to help prevent the spread of communicable disease. It's what essentially gave authority to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to take emergency action in March 2020, allowing immigration authorities to quickly expel migrants and denying entry to asylum seekers. The 1944 Public Health Service Act established an administrative structure for the country to deal with national and international health problems that could arise, both in war-time and in peace. Back then, tuberculosis was a major public health threat to the nation, and the Public Health Service Act helped provide grants for research and treatment of the disease. It also did things like establish the National Cancer Institute under the National Institutes of Health. Overall, it's pretty obscure — and definitely not a measure imagined to operate as central to the debate over immigration and asylum law. But in 2020, President Trump's administration invoked the order to restrict migrants' entry into the U.S., including for those seeking asylum at the southern border. That move was controversial, with many congressional Democrats decrying it as a harmful measure that dismantled the country's asylum system.
  • How has Title 42 impacted migrants at the border? Since it was invoked under Trump, Customs and Border Protection has counted more than 1.7 million expulsions of migrants at the border. Theresa Cardinal Brown from the Bipartisan Policy Center calls Title 42 the "primary tool" of managing migration at the border under both the Trump and Biden administrations. Title 42 has also made it hard to get an accurate number of migrants who are attempting to cross into the U.S. That's because many migrants have been trying to cross multiple times in the same month, then get counted more than once, according to Mayorkas.
  • When is Title 42 set to be lifted? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced earlier this month that Title 42 would expire on May 23. But if Congress wanted to change course on Title 42 and delay it legislatively, they could. In fact, some Republican members of Congress attempted just that. A COVID-19 aid package was held up in early April when Republicans attempted to extend the order. Congress left for Easter recess before sorting it out, and the aid package did not pass. Lawmakers return this week and many are expected to resume their focus on trying to keep it in place.
  • What happens at the border once it is lifted? In a word: influx. Government officials are bracing for a surge of migrants at the border once the order lifts. It "will likely cause a significant increase in arrivals" at the southwest border, according to a strategic plan released last month by the Department of Homeland Security. And some agency estimates say they'll see 18,000 border apprehensions per day, which is more than twice the average number of daily apprehensions last summer.



U.S.-Mexico Border Arrests Top One Million in Six Months

By Tarini Parti and Michelle Hackman, Wall Street Journal, April 18, 2022

  • The U.S. has made more than a million arrests at the U.S.-Mexico border since October, the fastest pace of illegal border crossings in at least the last two decades. Rapid expulsions under Title 42 are a significant component of the increase.
  • Migrants are turned back without any legal consequences, and many simply try to cross again and are therefore counted more than once in the total. Border agents made 209,906 arrests along the border in March, making it the busiest month in two decades. Another 11,397 migrants were permitted to enter the country to seek humanitarian protection at land border crossings, according to the data. 
  • Of the 1.01 million crossings so far this year, roughly 51% resulted in the migrant being expelled under Title 42, while the rest were processed under normal immigration procedures, meaning they were either rapidly deported, detained or released to seek asylum.  The backlog of pending cases in immigration courts has reached 1.7 million, according to a tracking tool at Syracuse University. The surge this year is being driven by new trends at the border. Roughly 40% of those coming are fleeing dictatorships or desperate economic circumstances, U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported. 
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Border Crossings Hit 22-Year High As Cubans Join Migrant Surge

By Benjamin Wermund, Washington Bureau, April 19, 2022

  • A group of House Democrats, including U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar of Laredo, have signed onto a bill that would delay the repeal of Title 42 by requiring the administration to first end the national COVID-19 public health emergency declaration and then notify Congress about a planned termination of the rule. Afterward, the CDC would have to wait at least 60 days before ending it. U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, is a lead sponsor on a similar bill in the Senate. U.S. Rep. Chip Roy, an Austin Republican, issued a call to House Democrats to also join an effort he’s leading in the House to force a vote to keep Title 42 in place, writing in The Federalist that just seven Democrats need to sign on to have enough names to force it.  
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'It Will Be A Nightmare': Texas City Braces For Flood Of Border Crossers When Covid Rule Ends In May

By Julia Ainsley, NBC News, April 19, 2022


Texas Halts All Mexican Truck Inspections After Border Chaos

By Joe Carroll, Bloomberg, April 15, 2022

  • On April 15, Gov. Abbott halted all Mexican truck inspections. Abbott signed an agreement with the governor of the border state of Tamaulipas on Friday, April 15, that ends vehicle-safety checks in exchange for increased vigilance south of the international line. The governors of Nuevo Leon, Chihuahua and Coahuila states agreed to similar arrangements on recent days.
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Texas lost $477 million due to Gov. Greg Abbott's enhanced commercial truck inspections, economist estimates

By Ariana Garcia, My San Antonio, April 18, 2022

  • Economist Ray Perryman, president and CEO of the Waco-based Perryman Group, told the Dallas Morning News that Texas lost an estimated $477 million per day as a result of the enhanced border security checks, citing preliminary data he plans to issue in a new study. Lance Jungmeyer, president of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas, told CNN that losses to fruit and vegetable producers as a result of the brief policy are estimated to be more than $240 million. Dante Galeazzi, president of the Texas International Produce Association, told CNN that about $9 billion worth of produce crosses from Mexico into the Lone Star State each year. Mexico reportedly lost $100 million due to the disrupt in trade, according to José Díaz Briseño, a Washington correspondent for Mexican newspaper Reforma.
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