Title 42: US braced as tens of thousands of migrants mass at Mexico border

Tens of thousands of migrants have massed on the US-Mexico border as a controversial deportation policy expires.

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, US health authorities issued Title 42 to allow agents to rapidly send migrants crossing the border back to Mexico or other countries,

Some 2.8 million people were expelled under the regulation that lapsed at midnight US Eastern Time on 11 May, prompting cities on both sides of the border to prepare for a surge in crossings.

About 24,000 police are stationed the length of the 2,000 mile US-Mexico border, along with thousands of National Guard troops and military personnel.

The rise in border arrivals comes as a result of pent-up demand and the perception among migrants that they will be allowed in now the ruling has lapsed.

But Joe Biden has introduced a new rule that would deny asylum to almost all migrants who cross into the US illegally, acknowledging: "It's going to be chaotic for a little while."

Under the new regulation, migrants will be presumed ineligible for asylum if they passed through another country en-route to the US without seeking protection, or if they failed to use other legal routes.

Those who cross the border illegally will be deported and barred from re-entering the US for at least five years.

An estimated 10,000 migrants are lined up at the border in El Paso, Texas, several thousands of whom are sleeping rough in makeshift campsites.

A migrant shelter in the northern border city of Reynosa was at capacity on Wednesday with many gathered anxiously waiting for Title 42 to expire.

Many of the migrants at this shelter are seeking an appointment with US immigration officials for their asylum applications.

“People have told me they have been here for over three months," said Rene Seid, a Haitian migrant at the camp. "They have been trying to get an appointment, but they never get an appointment.”