EAGLE PASS, Texas — Border Patrol agents received instructions from Biden administration officials to stop using the CDC Emergency COVID-19 Title 42 authority on Venezuelans apprehended along the border in some of Texas’ busiest sectors. According to a source within Customs and Border Protection, Mexico informed the Biden administration they will no longer accept Venezuelan migrants expelled under the Title 42 authority in the Del Rio and El Paso Sectors. The move is expected to cause a return to large migrant groups surrendering in these sectors as word of the policy change spreads.
The CBP source, not authorized to speak to the media, told Breitbart Texas they were notified on Thursday that Venezuelans were no longer to be returned to Mexico from the two Texas Border Patrol sectors under the program. Effective immediately, Venezuelan nationals crossing into the United States in the Del Rio and El Paso Sectors will now be allowed to apply for asylum instead of being swiftly returned under the emergency COVID-19 authority absent future negotiations with Mexico.
The source says the agency will attempt to coordinate the detention of Venezuelan migrants with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in lieu of immediate expulsion. The source predicts detention resources to quickly deplete resulting in the immediate release of the migrants into the United States to await the processing of their asylum petitions.
In October 2022, DHS announced the expansion of the authority to expel Venezuelans under the COVID-19-related Title 42 order. The announcement cited a joint effort between the United States and Mexico to address the increasing numbers of Venezuelan migrants seeking asylum. The program allowed DHS to return Venezuelan migrants at five locations across the southwest border. Those areas included San Diego, Tucson, El Paso, Del Rio, and the Rio Grande Valley.
In the announcement, DHS officials listed the following joint efforts to address the Venezuelan migrant issue:
Effective immediately, Venezuelans who enter the United States between ports of entry, without authorization, will be returned to Mexico. At the same time, the United States and Mexico are reinforcing their coordinated enforcement operations to target human smuggling organizations and bring them to justice. That campaign will include new 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 United States is also planning to offer additional security assistance to support regional partners to address the migration challenges in the Darién Gap.”
The source told Breitbart Texas it appears Mexico may have tired of the agreement due to several incidents involving the growing frustration of migrants returned from some Texas areas under the expanded agreement related to Title 42.
In March, a group of roughly 1,000 migrants attempted to storm across an El Paso port of entry believing they would be allowed to make asylum claims and remain in the United States. Authorities suspected misinformation circulated amongst the migrants by human smugglers may have prompted the mass crossing. Later in March, 39 migrants died in a fire at a migrant detention facility in Juarez, Mexico after protesters detained in the government-run facility set mattresses alight.
Nearly a third of the migrants who perished in the fire were Venezuelan nationals according to Mexico’s National Institute of Migration. The return of Venezuelan nationals under the enhanced application of Title 42 authority will remain in place in only three of the five original locations. These include the San Diego, Tucson, and Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol Sectors according to the source.
Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol. Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.
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