EL PASO, Texas (KTRK) — The Biden administration has formally asked the Supreme Court to allow the end of Title 42, a controversial Trump-era policy that allows migrant people to be quickly turned away at the border.
The program was scheduled to end on Dec. 21, and we’ve seen huge crowds at the El Paso border for weeks.
On Monday, the Supreme Court paused the program’s expiration date.
About 400 migrant people are brought to the Houston Transfer Center every week. They’re arriving from El Paso and then coming to Houston before boarding planes to other cities in the country.
“When they arrive from El Paso, we offer them a meal, a shower, a bit of rest, and we ensure they are prepared for their flight or bus ride to their court destination,” Director Karina Hernandez explained.
“I suffered police harassment, and I didn’t have any options. My only option was to come here.” Ivan Cabrera, who is from Cuba, told Eyewitness News in Spanish.
A woman from Colombia told ABC13, “All we know is that we have until the 21st for the United States to help us out here. It’s really hard because I’ve never been separated from my family.”
Those we spoke with didn’t know about Title 42 before crossing the border, but had heard from friends and family that now is the time to come to the United States if they want to file asylum.
RELATED: Houston takes part in decompressing migrant surge in El Paso ahead of Title 42 end date
They have been part of a growing mass of people crowding into El Paso recently.
Hundreds of Texas National Guard troops are now stationed in the border city, where the mayor has declared a state of emergency, that many expect to get worse if and when Title 42 is eventually lifted.
“We’re already seeing max capacity right now, so it would just completely inundate the system altogether,” Texas Congressman Tony Gonzales said.
Immigration Attorney Raed Gonzalez said many of those crossing the border are misinformed.
“I can tell you that out of 100 individuals that come to my office, probably 90% do not have an asylum claim,” Gonzalez said. “The other ones are debatable and so forth.”
RELATED: What is Title 42? How will it impact the Texas-Mexico border?
Those who do file claims often have long waits.
Seven years after she came to the U.S. from El Salvador as an unaccompanied minor, Marcela Varga has her final court hearing scheduled for January.
She works two jobs and attends community college in Houston while waiting to see a judge.
“I want to live here,” she said. “I want to get a good future.”
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