The removal of Title 42 as a barrier to immigration into the United States has already encouraged traffickers, according to Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
Obrador has been advocating for people considering illegally entering the United States to instead acquire a visa in their home country.
The Mexican government warned last week that human traffickers are gearing up for the expiration of U.S. Code Title 42 Section 265 expulsions this Thursday.
“Coyotes,” or smugglers, are charging migrants up to $7,000 to help them cross the border illegally before the program is withdrawn, as claimed by Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard.
Former President Donald Trump’s government first adopted Title 42 in March 2020 to curb the spread of COVID in the United States. Migrants have been forcibly returned to their home countries without being granted asylum per the policy. It will end on May 11 at the same time the COVID-19 health emergency does.
Obrador has just issued a warning that “coyotes” are misleading undocumented migrants into thinking they may enter the border when the program expires when in fact, they cannot. He has advocated for migrants to pursue lawful channels when applying for visas.
Officials believe that smugglers, who take advantage of migrants for financial gain, are spreading false information about the crossing routes.
Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas warned would-be immigrants last week not to fall for such schemes. He emphasized that the border was not open, that it never was open, and that it would not be open again after May 11.
While the Biden administration and the Mexican government insist that the United States is not preparing for a surge in illegal border crossings, experts disagree.
Despite early assurances, the administration plans to send 1,500 service members to the southern border to provide support.