HOUSTON - A federal health order known as Title 42, is set to expire on Dec. 21. The policy was implemented by the Trump administration in 2020 to help curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic by expelling migrants and asylum-seekers from the U.S.
Texas is one of several GOP states that have pushed to keep Title 42 in place. However, the motion was denied in court on Friday. The Republican-led states will reportedly file an appeal on Monday.
Immigration attorney Mana Yegani is criticizing those using the expiration as a political pawn.
"I just think what's happening right now is misinformation of equating Title 42, with an open border policy, which is really not the case at all. Title 42 is a public health order," said Yegani. "So the fact that it expires, it means that we're not in the COVID period any longer. By no definition does that mean that the border is open. This is clearly misinformation that the smugglers are using to encourage people to cross the border."
Instead, Yegani is pressuring lawmakers in Washington to call for more comprehensive immigration reform, as the number of migrants and asylum-seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border continues to grow.
Republican Texas Senator John Cornyn appeared on Fox News earlier this week, criticizing the Biden Administration for its lack of preparation and transparency over the policy.
"I remember talking to border patrol chiefs probably about a year ago as they knew that eventually, Title 42 would go away, and they wanted some plan in its place. Now, here we are, as you pointed out, a week before that’s going to happen. Maybe they have a secret plan. Maybe the secret is they have no plan. We just don’t know," Cornyn said.
More than 2 million migrants have been expelled from the southern border since Title 42 was implemented in 2020.
Local organizations like the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) say they've been working on expanding resources to welcome a new surge of people to Houston.
"What we want to do is try to coordinate the list of the people once they're ready to be released, that so that they won't be dumped," said Education Co-Chair Isidro Garza, Jr.