Thousands of migrants at the southern border who were hoping to cross over once Title 42 expired on Wednesday have been stalled after the Supreme Court ruled to temporarily extend the Trump-era policy.
Title 42 will remain in place until the Supreme Court issues an order stating otherwise, meaning those hoping to enter the United States will either have to wait, or risk crossing illegally.
According to the Associated Press, most of the migrants had made the arduous journey from parts of Mexico, central America, and beyond to US border towns such as El Paso in anticipation that Title 42 would be lifted.
Many had arrived days in advance, waiting for the floodgates to open, and were left with few options when that didn't happen.
El Paso was among the hardest hit, with thousands of migrants clamoring for the facilities and services border patrol and other organizations could provide.
As the AP reports, the Texas National Guard had to be called in to deal with the massive number of people, with volunteers and members of law enforcement helping them handle the cold weather.
The Roman Catholic diocese of El Paso said it will be opening their churches to shelter up to 1,000 people in the area.
"It's not manageable," Border Network for Human Rights' executive director Fernando Garcia told the BBC. "The shelters and community efforts have been overwhelmed." He pointed out that there were women and children braving the winter weather without proper food, clothing, or shelter.
If Title 42 were to be lifted, however, the influx would only get worse, admitted the Biden administration's lawyers. Officials predicted that in such a case, daily migrant detentions near El Paso alone would rise from 1,500 to 6,000, putting a massive strain on already depleted existing resources.
The decision to keep the policy in place was made following the filing of a lawsuit by nineteen GOP-led states who warned it needed to be upheld to protect the southern border.
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