By web staff
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TYLER, Texas (KTBS) — The US southern border is bracing for a surge in migrants seeking refuge when Title 42 expires Thursday night.
Title 42 is a pandemic-era policy instilled by the Trump administration to stop allowing people to cross into the United States in hopes of limiting the spread of Covid-19.
Border cities aren’t the only ones experiencing the surge, with many immigrants already arriving in East Texas hoping to start a new life.
“It is not a problem that it is far from us at the border. In fact, it’s here all over East Texas,” said Gilbert Urbina, deputy director of the Hispanic American Association.
Urbina said people have come from Venezuela, Nicaragua, Honduras and Cuba seeking asylum in East Texas.
People like Heidi Del Carmen, came to Tyler a year ago from Nicaragua in search of a better life for their two children.
“Everything I experienced was like I was in a movie, you don’t know if you are going to live or die, where your next meal will come from or when you will arrive at your destination,” Del Carmen said.
He explained that his life in Nicaragua was extremely difficult.
“It is not your fault that you are born in a country that does not give you good life opportunities, you work and work for the minimum and when you look back you realize the exploitation that exists”, said Del Carmen.
When given the opportunity to travel to East Texas, scary as it was, she said she would do anything to get her children out of that constant struggle.
“God willing, he can help me bring my children here, because if I have to return to my country of origin, I am afraid of what might happen to me,” Del Carmen said.
Del Carmen is just one example of the thousands of migrants who cross the border daily, risking their lives for the chance to start a new and better life in the United States.
“Asylum is a very specific criteria that they have to meet,” Urbina said. “And a lot of people don’t meet that criteria. They are simply fleeing from poverty, instability, lack of employment, those kinds of problems that happen in third world countries.”
Title 42 expires Thursday night and both the federal and Texas state governments are working on plans to crack down on illegal crossings.
“The state of Texas has deployed over 500 additional soldiers to help with the effort here,” said Matt Barker, Joint Task Force Lone Star brigadier general.
Up to 10,000 members of the Texas National Guard and 1,200 DPS soldiers are on the Texas-Mexico border. That is in addition to the 1,500 US soldiers and marines that President Biden has already deployed.
“Based on the Biden administration itself, they anticipate about 13,000 people crossing the border illegally every day,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said at a briefing Monday night. “If you spread that out over the course of a year, it means there will be about 4,700,000 people crossing the border a year.”
Title 42 is being replaced by a new rule that migrants who cross the southern border without authorization must first prove they applied for protection in a third world country, or face harsh consequences.
“Knowing that this is a regional challenge that requires a regional solution, we continue to work with the countries of the Americas to discourage irregular migration,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas.
The White House is also working with other countries such as Spain and Canada to establish processing centers, although they have not yet been established.
Here in East Texas, the Hispanic American Association is busy working to help those who come to their doorstep, even if it’s not the news they want to hear.
“We have to give them the legal explanation of whether or not they can stay here,” Urbina said. “If they don’t meet the criteria, there is very little that can be done for them. So they basically traveled here without any plan. And they have no real legal way to stay in the United States.”
Meanwhile, Urbina is working with Del Carmen as she waits to hear a decision from the courts on her legal status.
“God has a purpose for each one of us and I firmly believe that he has me here in this position for a reason,” Del Carmen said.
If you or someone you know needs immigration information, call the Hispanic American Association in Tyler at 903-595-0066.
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