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Rio Grande Valley, Texas

Border authorities in the Rio Grande Valley have encountered between 900 and 1,200 migrants daily during the past two weeks, according to a federal law enforcement source familiar with daily operations in South Texas.

These types of numbers are reminiscent of the 2019 surge, when agents encountered at least 1,000 migrants a day, the source said.

The surge in migrants comes as the pandemic Trump-era rule known as Title 42 is scheduled to lift on December 21. The policy allows allows border agents to swiftly return migrants to Mexico.

The termination of the policy is expected to lead to an increase in border crossings since authorities will no longer be able to quickly expel them as has been done since March 2020.

Federal agencies in the Rio Grande Valley are also receiving at least 200 additional migrants who are arriving by plane or by bus from other border patrol sectors, like Del Rio and Laredo, according to the same law enforcement source.

The federal government’s process of moving migrants out of areas that are at capacity and to areas with room for processing is called “decompression.”

In the six-pillar plan issued by the Department of Homeland Security last week, increasing transportation resources, like flights and buses, was part of plan leading up to the lifting of Title 42.

The plan, outlined in a seven-page document, also said the surge of resources to the southern border includes the hiring of nearly 1,000 Border Patrol processing coordinators and adding 2,500 contractors and personnel from government agencies – which allows federal agents to focus on field law enforcement duties.

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