While former President Donald Trump’s immigration policy included a consistent push for a wall along the nation’s southern border, his successor came into office determined to cut off funding for the project.
Critics say President Joe Biden’s agenda has contributed to the record number of illegal border crossings over the past two years — and the crisis is expected to worsen after the expiration of Title 42, a Trump-era policy that permitted migrants to be expelled for public health reasons.
As a result, Republican leaders in border states are taking matters into their own hands, including plans to erect barricades along the U.S.-Mexico border.
In El Paso, Texas, where illegal border crossings have been a constant issue in recent years, the Texas National Guard recently completed the installation of a two-mile stretch of barbed wire fencing. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott indicated that the project led to a sharp decline in the stream of undocumented immigrants entering the country in that area.
Migrant crossings "plummet" in El Paso as Texas National Guard expands barbwire fence.
We will continue to deploy the National Guard, razor wire, large container boxes and building the wall to do all we can to deter illegal immigration caused by Biden.https://t.co/Dfro4ejIaX
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) December 28, 2022
Although a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision allowed for a temporary continuation of Title 42 after it was slated to end in late December, authorities are preparing for a surge in illegal immigration upon its eventual expiration.
As it stands, El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser indicated that shelters designed to house undocumented immigrants are “completely full” and the city has had to repurpose other facilities to provide shelter to the scores of incoming migrants. In addition to turning vacant school buildings and a convention center into makeshift shelters, local authorities have reportedly installed a huge tent to aid in processing migrants when Title 42 ends.
On the eve of the policy’s scheduled rescission, estimates showed that about 20,000 migrants were waiting on the Mexico side of the border to enter near El Paso.
“It’s still going to get worse before it even gets better, and that’s what we’re preparing for,” Leeser said.
In addition to the barbed wire fencing near El Paso, Abbott confirmed that state officials are considering other barrier options, including taking a page out of another Republican governor’s playbook.
GOP Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has used shipping containers to fill in gaps in the border between his state and Mexico, prompting the U.S. government to sue the state for allegedly trespassing on federal land.