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Busing migrants, Title 42: What’s happening at the border?

(NewsNation) — Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said Thursday the U.S. will continue to explore ways to stop Venezuelan migrants who seek to enter the country after a federal judge blocked Title 42 earlier this week.

Mayorkas told lawmakers Thursday that migration patterns have changed dramatically.

“When I was deputy secretary we were very concerned about migration from the Central American countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras,” Mayorkas said. “We have encountered now, the highest level of encounters by Venezuelans, Cubans and Nicaraguans and that changed demographic makes the challenge even more acute because our diplomatic relations with these countries is obviously quite strained and we’re unable to remove as easily individuals from these countries of origin.”

The southern border was a hot topic leading up to last week’s midterm elections it continued to make headlines in the days that followed.

Here’s a summary of what happened this week:

Title 42

Title 42
 allowed U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents to turn away migrants with the goal of preventing the spread of COVID-19.

A federal judge on Tuesday blocked the COVID-19 pandemic-era public health policy. That same judge issued another order Wednesday granting a stay — that is, a period of time before his previous order takes effect.

DHS now has until Dec. 21 to transition away from Title 42 and send additional resources to the border.

The department’s approach for Venezuelans, which expanded Title 42 along with a program that allowed for 24,000 Venezuelans to enter the country, has been underway for just a few weeks, NewsNation partner The Hill reported.

Busing migrants

As of Monday, Texas has bused more than 13,200 migrants to so-called sanctuary cities, Gov. Greg Abbott said in a tweet earlier this week. Of those:

  • 8,300 were taken to D.C.
  • 3,700 were taken to NYC
  • 1,200 were taken to Chicago

Abbott also announced on Tuesday that a group of migrants departed for Philadelphia, where they arrived Wednesday morning.

Philadelphia’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and Office of Emergency Management coordinated with 15 community-based organizations to plan a local response for the migrants’ arrival, city officials said.

Recently re-elected Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis also has a history of transporting migrants across state lines.

A federal lawsuit filed in September accused DeSantis of acting in “inhumane and repugnant conduct” when he arranged to have immigrants flown to Martha’s Vineyard.

The migrants who filed the suit say they were given $10 McDonald’s gift certificates and were promised that if they boarded airplanes to other states, they would be met with jobs,  housing, educational opportunities and other assistance.

They were told they were going to Boston or Washington, D.C., but instead landed in Martha’s Vineyard, according to the suit.

Abbott’s ‘invasion’ declaration

Abbott made headlines Tuesday after tweeting that he was invoking the state constitution’s invasion clause in an effort to better secure the border. The tweet included a screengrab of bullet-pointed border actions that Abbott laid out in a recent letter to county judges — but none of those efforts were new, despite the timing of Abbott’s tweet.

Abbott cited the same clause four months earlier in a July executive order with the intention of taking “unprecedented measures to fight back against the invasion at our border.”

Abbott recently won an election to keep his seat over Democrat Beto O’Rourke. Immigration and the border were among several issues the candidates debated.