The White House is assuring the U.S. public that preparations are being made to stem the expected surge in border crossings after Title 42 expires Dec. 21.
However, President Biden’s administration has not yet produced concrete steps they say they will take.
‘We have been and continue to plan for its expiration next week. That’s point one,’ National Security Council strategic communications coordinator John Kirby said during a Friday morning briefing with reporters.
‘Point two … is that we are making appropriate preparations for that expiration, and you will hear more from us, specifically [the Department of Homeland Security], next week about what those preparations are going to be looking like.’
A court ordered the Biden administration to stop using authority under Title 42 – a public health order that has been used since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic to return migrants to Mexico – after it was found to be unlawful.
‘We also, you know, continue to work with Congress and asking for more resources for immigration purposes and for border security. As I said at my topper, we’ve been coordinating with leaders across the Western Hemisphere,’ Kirby said in the virtual press gaggle on Friday. ‘This will be an issue of discussion with President [Guillermo] Lasso on Monday when he meets with President Biden. We’ve got anti-smuggling operations up and running with Mexico and Guatemala, and of course, we’re doing what we can to combat the disinformation from smugglers.’
According to the Department of Homeland Security, an estimated 9,000 to 15,000 migrant crossings could occur each day once Title 42 expires.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas visited El Paso, Texas, earlier this month and issued several statements on the expiration of Title 42.
‘Once the Title 42 order is no longer in place, DHS will process individuals encountered at the border without proper travel documents using its longstanding Title 8 authorities, which provide for meaningful consequences, including barring individuals who are removed from re-entry for five years,’ he said. ‘These consequences include placing individuals in expedited removal, which allows DHS to quickly repatriate individuals who do not have a legal basis to stay in the United States.’
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre took a series of questions on the looming expiration of Title 42, though when it came to specifics of how the Biden administration is going to tackle the expected influx of illegal immigrants, she did not provide them.
Jean-Pierre told reporters the administration was doing the work to produce a plan that addresses migrants coming over the border illegally after Dec. 21.
Fox News’s Greg Wehner contributed to this report.