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Border Patrol releasing majority of detained migrants

BROWNSVILLE, Texas (NewsNation) — With Title 42 set to expire next week, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol is already starting to release a majority of detainees at the border because they will no longer be able to immediately expel migrants after the pandemic-era policy ends.

Migrant encounter numbers are now hovering around the levels seen during the Del Rio migrant crisis in September of 2021, when 16,000 migrants mostly from Haiti camped out awaiting asylum beneath the international bridge, sources confirmed to NewsNation.

Currently, there are 19,066 migrants in U.S. Customs and Border Patrol custody and nearly 9,000 of those encounters were in one day. The normal number for holdings is around 10,000. CBP sources said they consider 15,000 busy and 22,000 is “unbelievable” — which is where numbers were yesterday.

The overwhelming majority of migrants are now being processed and released with a notice to appear and are put into what Mayorkas calls “removal proceedings,” which is when migrants are generally given a cellphone and told to report to an immigration office when they reach their destination.

These migrants will likely not have a court date for two to five years because of the court backlog.

The expiration of Title 42 is anticipated to bring an influx of migrants to the border, which some sectors are already seeing.

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is expected to visit Texas’ Rio Grande Valley on Thursday and Friday,  “to review CBP and ICE planning and response operations ahead of the lifting of the Title 42 public health Order,” according to his office. He also plans to meet with DHS staff, local officials and law enforcement partners.

Mayorkas’ visit comes as the Biden administration braces for a spike in illegal border crossings and a massive influx of migrants.

The Rio Grande Valley is leading in migrant apprehensions along the southern border, and the city of Brownsville has declared a state of emergency this week amid the migrant influx.

In Brownsville, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is conducting mandatory checks on commercial vehicles crossing the border from Mexico. They began operations on the international bridge Tuesday, which is slated to continue until Sunday. Texas DPS said this operation is only happening in Brownsville.

El Paso is second for apprehensions but has also announced a disaster declaration this week due to what leaders say are unsustainable numbers. Migrants are once again camping out on the streets of the so-called “sanctuary city.”

Del Rio Sector sheriffs said they will be receiving buses of migrants from other sectors to help relieve some of the pressure on the processing centers, especially in the Rio Grande Valley. Agents in other sectors, like the coastal sector, have jumped in to assist remotely by doing virtual processing.

President Joe Biden announced he is sending 1,500 U.S. troops to the border on a 90-day deployment to assist with administrative work. However, agents said the deployment won’t do anything substantial as the troops aren’t able to actually process or remove anyone. Border Patrol agents will still be processing and not in the field patrolling the border.