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Mayorkas on end of Title 42: ‘We are ready’ for challenges that lie ahead

At the White House press briefing on Thursday, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas spoke about the end Title 42, the public health order that allowed the U.S. to quickly expel migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border because of COVID-19. Mayorkas said, “We are clear-eyed about the challenges we are likely to face in the days and weeks ahead, and we are ready to meet them." He warned migrants against trying to unlawfully enter the U.S., saying “our borders are not open.”

Video Transcript

ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS: Tonight at 11:59 PM Eastern time, the pandemic era Title 42 public health order will end. Starting at midnight, people who arrive at our Southern border will be subject to our immigration enforcement authorities under Title 8 of the United States Code.

Here is what that means. If anyone arrives at our Southern border after midnight tonight, they will be presumed ineligible for asylum and subject to steeper consequences for unlawful entry, including a minimum five year ban on reentry and potential criminal prosecution. The transition to Title 8 processing will be swift and immediate.

We have surged 24,000 Border Patrol agents and officers, thousands of troops, contractors, and over 1,000 asylum officers and judges to see this through. We are clear eyed about the challenges we are likely to face in the days and weeks ahead. And we are ready to meet them.

We expected to see large numbers of encounters initially. We are already seeing high numbers of encounters in certain sectors. This places an incredible strain on our personnel, our facilities, and our communities with whom we partner closely.

I want to be very clear-- our borders are not open. People who cross our border unlawfully and without a legal basis to remain will be promptly processed and removed. An individual who is removed under Title 8 is subject to at least a 5 year ban on re-entry into the United States and can face criminal prosecution if they attempt to cross again.

Smugglers have been long, hard at work spreading false information that the border will be open. They are lying. To people who are thinking of making the journey to our Southern border, know this-- smugglers care only about profits, not people. Do not risk your life and your life savings only to be removed from the United States if and when you arrive here.