Thousands at US border as migrant policy expires
About 60,000 people are waiting to cross into the US from Mexico, officials say, after a pandemic-era border policy expired on Friday.
The policy, known as Title 42, allowed the US to swiftly deport people without an asylum hearing, using the coronavirus pandemic as justification.
It ended overnight after three years along with the country’s national COVID-19 health emergency. President Biden’s new rules to replace Title 42 are facing legal challenges.
Several people in the town of El Paso in Texas said they hurried to reach the border ahead of the policy change. They told the BBC they were unsure what the new rules would mean and had been left confused by rumours and misinformation.
Jon Uzcategui and his girlfriend Esmaily, both 24, arrived here from Venezuela. They said they were told by smugglers and other migrants that they would be immediately deported if they presented themselves at the border, prompting them to illegally cross the barriers separating El Paso from Mexico.
“We trusted them, and were starting to move into the US. But we were stopped at a roadblock,” said Mr Uzcategui, who was eventually allowed in after his asylum claim was heard. “The agents told us that (what we heard) was all false.”
“All the migrants were talking about May 11,” he added. “But there were lots of rumours. We just knew something was changing.”