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Border crossings already surging before end of Title 42

(NewsNation) — On Thursday, the pandemic-era immigration policy known as Title 42 will expire, and officials are already seeing an influx of migrants at the southern border.

Over the past three days, Border Patrol agents have recorded 26,382 apprehensions and another 7,399 others got away, U.S. Border Patrol Chief Paul Ruiz tweeted Monday.

The 8,800 daily apprehensions over the past 72 hours mark a 40% increase from the average daily totals reported in March. With the end of Title 42, the number of illegal crossings could rise to 13,000 a day, according to U.S. authorities.

Humanitarian workers in the region said Monday the pending conclusion of the COVID-era border policy is directly to blame for the recent surge.

“It’s sending the wrong message and letting people think that the border is open and everybody can come,” said Sister Norma Pimentel with Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley. “We’re starting to see a crisis.”

TX: “There wasn’t a crisis until now…”Sister Norma Pimentel with Catholic Charities of the RGV says the lifting of #Title42 is causing an immigration crisis. She says they are working to make more shelter space available as agents say the numbers are already unsustainable.

The… pic.twitter.com/eMsLfPaMzp

— Ali Bradley (@AliBradleyTV) May 8, 2023

The Texas cities of Brownsville, El Paso and Laredo have all declared states of emergency with Title 42 set to expire.

The total number of migrants in U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s custody is already at record highs and recently exceeded 25,000, sources told NewsNation’s Ali Bradley. The Yuma border sector, for example, is currently 213% above its processing capacity and has added a new processing tent to handle the influx.

Last week, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said DHS has been preparing for the end of the policy.

“What we are expecting is indeed a surge. And what we are doing is planning for different levels of a surge,” Mayorkas said during a recent visit to southern Texas.

The Biden administration announced plans to send 1,500 active duty troops to the U.S.-Mexico border for 90 days to help with administrative work. Active duty troops are not allowed to enforce immigration laws.

For that reason, border agents said the deployment won’t do anything substantial as the troops aren’t able to actually process or remove anyone.

In January, monthly migrant encounters plunged from all-time highs after Biden announced new border rules for those arriving from specific countries. However, the slowdown appears to have been short lived as total monthly encounters shot up 22% from January to March.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.