Roughly 700,000 migrants are waiting in Mexico to cross the southern border upon the expiration of Title 42 next week, according to Border Patrol officials.
"Border Patrol shared with us their intelligence that there are approximately 700,000, as of three weeks ago, in the shelters in Mexico waiting to come into the United States," Jonathan Lines, supervisor on Arizona’s Yuma County Board of Supervisors, said this week. He added that border officials said there is a 500 percent increase in migrants crossing the Darién Gap, which connects South and Central America.
Title 42, a pandemic-era rule that allows agents to immediately turn migrants away at the border, expires on May 11. Once it lapses, the Biden administration plans to expand catch and release protocols that will potentially allow hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants into the country.
Lines added that currently 40 percent of illegal migrants that cross in Yuma are immediately turned away because of Title 42.
The expected migrant surge comes as the administration said it will deploy more than 1,000 active military troops to the border—not to defend it but to process migrants' information before allowing them entry into the United States.
Vice President Kamala Harris said sending military to the border was "political" and "inappropriate" when former president Donald Trump did it in 2018.
Previous estimates put projected daily border crossings once Title 42 lapses at 15,000, which totals more than five million annually.