The new migration policy of the American government is intended to bring about orderly migration, President Joe Biden had said many times. But before the regulations were applied, even more chaos broke out over the regions on the Mexican-American border. About ten thousand people a day, more than ever before, tried to get into the United States last week. Processing centers where the rush became too large were allowed to let migrants into the country "on probation" even without a court date for an asylum procedure, until a federal judge stopped this procedure late Thursday. That same night, the moment came when America's new migration policy will be tested for reality.

Sofia Dreisbach

Political correspondent for North America, based in Washington.

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At one minute before midnight on Thursday, the health regulation Title 42, which dates back to the Corona pandemic, fell. From now on, American border officials will no longer be allowed to turn away migrants on the grounds of public health without a chance of asylum procedures – as had happened about two and a half million times since March 2020. For this reason, the American authorities initially fear a large rush to the border. The head of the border patrol, Raul Ortiz, told CBS on Thursday that about 60,000 people were waiting near the border. In addition, there are 25,000 people in border guard facilities and tents, which actually only have capacity for a few thousand.

"Plan will deliver results"

Shortly before the end of Title 42, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas once again issued urgent warnings to migrants. Smugglers had done their best to spread the rumor that the border was now open. "It's not. They're lying," Mayorcas said. "Don't risk your life and savings just to be deported from the United States if and when you get here!" From the night, however, there were initially no reports of an uncontrolled rush to the border.

"We are aware of the challenges we will face in the coming weeks," Mayorkas continued. The government's plan will "deliver results." At the border, 24,000 border guards and 1500 soldiers are currently deployed for short-term support. Many migrants had tried to enter the country beforehand because illegal migration under Title 8 is to be punished more severely in the future. Anyone who is apprehended while crossing the border without permission is to be deported to Mexico or their home country within a few days and will not be allowed to enter the country for five years.

Regional machining centers in Colombia and Guatemala are also intended to alleviate the pressure on the American border. In the future, migrants who are already in Mexico will have to make appointments for an asylum application via an app in which around a thousand appointments are activated per day – far too few to cope with the situation, human rights activists criticize. According to reports from American media, border guards made exceptions to this rule on Friday night.

"Joe Biden, it's your fault"

Human rights organizations complain that it makes it disproportionately difficult for migrants to apply for asylum in the United States. People are holding out under difficult conditions at the border – during the day it is currently more than thirty degrees in El Paso – and wait weeks for an appointment. The app has been available since April and was previously only valid for exemptions from Title 42. The Republicans, on the other hand, strongly criticize Biden's border policy despite the innovations. Coinciding with the end of Title 42, Republicans in the House of Representatives passed a bill "for secure borders" on Thursday. This provides for a partial return to border policy under Biden's predecessor Donald Trump.

Among other things, funds would be made available for the further construction of a border wall and the "Remain in Mexico" regulation would be reintroduced. This stated that migrants must remain in Mexico during their asylum process. It is ruled out that the bill will get through the Democratic-dominated Senate. The supposed lawlessness of the border is one of the core issues of the Republicans and is likely to play a major role in the presidential election campaign.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz, one of the loudest critics of Biden's migration policy, circulated a video of himself at the border with Mexico on Friday night. In it, he spoke of a "massive invasion" that begins with the end of Title 42. "Joe Biden, it's your fault."