South Bay officials, nonprofits formulate plans to welcome migrants as Title 42 ends

Zach Fuentes Image
Friday, May 12, 2023
SJ officials, nonprofits prepare for migrants as Title 42 ends
South Bay officials and nonprofits are formulating plans to welcome an influx of migrants as Title 42 immigration restriction police ends.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Title 42, the COVID-era immigration restriction policy, is going to expire soon and could set off chaos along the border with Mexico.

Officials are worried about a surge of migrants seeking to come to the United States and there are new rules for asylum seekers.

Some of them will be required to have applied for and been denied asylum in another country before they can apply in the U.S.

Extra resources are being deployed and that includes the Texas National Guard.

Those seeking to cross into the U.S. are being warned.

RELATED: 'Now or never': Migrants rush to US border ahead of Title 42 expiration

"I want to be very clear, our borders are not open," said Alejandro Mayorkas, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, "People who cross our border unlawfully and without a legal basis to remain will be promptly processed and removed."

U.S. Border Patrol says it has around 2,700 people in custody and several of its facilities are over capacity.

Locally, South Bay officials and organizations are preparing in the event that Title 42's ending may have some impacts in Santa Clara County.

Santa Clara County is hours away from the border but leaders with San Jose nonprofit Amigos de Guadalupe say it's a destination for many people who immigrated to the U.S.

"What we're seeing is there's a lot of family connections," said Cesar Bautista, an immigration attorney with the nonprofit, "It's always usually 'I have a family member here, a cousin here. I had a friend here,' so it's that family connection that draws people to the area."

VIDEO: What is Title 8 immigration law? And what happens when Title 42 ends?

Migrants rushed to the U.S. border Thursday in hopes of entering the country in the final hours before Title 42 expires.

The nonprofit says the need for their services saw an increase even before the nearing end of Title 42.

"We have seen an influx of immigrants, starting from this summer knocking on our doors," said Maritza Maldonado, founder and executive director of Amigos de Guadalupe.

Now with more people waiting at the border to seek asylum, local advocates say many of them may seek out the Bay Area as an ultimate destination.

It's still unknown how many may come as a result of Title 42 ending but preparations for an influx are underway.

"It may be in phases we don't know what we'll see but we want to plan for it," Maldonado said, "We don't want to be left saying 'Oh what happened? We never planned for it.'"

RELATED: Bay Area nonprofits expecting migrant influx as Title 42 set to expire

It's not only nonprofits readying themselves - Susan Ellenberg, President of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors says plans at the county level have to be made.

"We need to be prepared," she said, "We need to be ready to welcome any immigrants and asylees who make their way to our community."

The city of San Jose also says that it has been having ongoing conversations with the Department of Homeland Security.

"The city of San Jose is developing and refining a plan," said Zulma Maciel, Director of San Jose's Office of Racial Equity, "That in the event, we start seeing a lot of people or buses arriving, that we would be able to activate multiple departments to make sure that we're being responsive to the things that families need when they arrive."

While work is being done to create short-term solutions, calls continue to be made to solve the long-term problems.

"We are working with a system that's broken, Maldonado said, "We need immigration reform, we should not have to be putting band aids."

Now Streaming 24/7 Click Here

If you're on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live