With Title 42 set to expire at midnight on May 12, El Paso is preparing for thousands of illegal aliens to surge across the southern border.

Title 42 is a public health order that allows customs officials to send illegal aliens from “COVID-19 impacted” areas back across the border without processing them through the federal court system.

El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser declared a city-wide state of emergency effective for seven days starting May 1. After seven days, the El Paso City Council will vote on extending the declaration for 30 days.

Leeser said he issued the declaration in anticipation of Title 42’s expiration.

According to the El Paso Times, “unconfirmed estimates” previously reported that up to 35,000 illegal aliens in Juárez, Mexico, were prepared to enter the U.S. after Title 42’s expiration. However, after assessing the situation in Juárez, Leeser reported that anywhere from 10,000 to 12,000 illegal aliens were waiting on the Mexico side of the border.

“They have come in, really, with a false pretense that there will be open borders starting on May 11, and anyone that’s already in the United States will no longer be required to have proper documentation, and that is an untrue statement,” said Leeser.

Leeser said illegal aliens should not expect the U.S. to open its border after Title 42 ends.

“The borders are not open today and they will not be open on May 12,” said Leeser.

The emergency declaration allows El Paso to receive assistance from the federal government and open temporary emergency shelters—including two vacant middle schools—for housing illegal aliens.

Under the order, illegal aliens will not be allowed to camp along city streets and will instead be directed to official shelters. City officials will also actively clean up illegal border-crosser campsites to ensure that El Paso remains a safe environment for citizens.

El Paso Deputy City Manager Mario D’Agostino asked citizens to drop off donations at designated sites instead of delivering supplies directly to illegal aliens to prevent large street gatherings.

Leeser reported that El Paso’s emergency dispatches received five calls over the weekend involving drug use and the exploitation of women at illegal alien campsites.

Despite illegal aliens’ disproportionate association with criminal activity, D’Agostino said El Paso’s law enforcement will not enforce immigration law or detain illegal aliens.

“That is a federal government issue,” stated D’Agostino. “And so that’s left up to Border Patrol and ICE.”

As El Paso prepares for a potential flood of illegal aliens, Leeser called on the federal government to take control of the open-border crisis and help U.S. cities struggling with limited resources.

“The federal process right now is broken, and it has not been fixed for many, many years,” said Leeser. “And at the end of the day, as a community, we cannot continue to do this with the same laws that the federal government has provided us to work with.”

Katy Marshall

Katy graduated from Tarleton State University in 2021 after majoring in history and minoring in political science.