RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — As the U.S. Border Patrol struggles with migrants illegally crossing daily, there is still no word from the Biden administration on Title 42 and what will ultimately happen.

On May 20 a federal judge blocked Title 42 from being lifted on the border. Title 42 allows immigration officials to immediately send anyone who crosses illegally back, due to the public health order put in place for COVID-19 safety measures.

District Judge Robert R. Summerhays, a Trump appointee in Lafayette, ruled that the Biden administration had to keep Title 42 in place, at least for now. With all the uncertainty on the border, the one thing that does stay consistent is the flow of migrants crossing into the U.S. So far this fiscal year, 1,478,977 people have been found trying to illegally enter the U.S., according to CBP data.

In a ride-along with U.S. Border Patrol agents, ValleyCentral saw multiple groups cross and be caught by agents. In one group, an agent found a man hiding underneath a truck parked next to a flea market in Hidalgo, Texas. A common ​occurrence out on the border. All of it happening just feet away from everyday shoppers, oblivious to what was happening right next to them. “He was underneath the wheel well, it was hard to see him unless you went up close to him, but we got him,” said Agent Gregory Aldaya, assigned to the Rio Grande Valley sector.

The majority of the groups seen were single adult males. Throughout the day, there were only two females. Both of them, traveling in a group of men. In another group of 12, two men said they were coming to work. They already had jobs in construction lined up in Houston. “We were just coming to work, we climbed the wall and we’re disappointed that we were caught.” With the current Title 42 policy, he’ll be returned to his home country. 

There were 201,800 people encountered by U.S. Border Patrol agents along the southwest land border in the month of April, according to CBP.

An additional 32,288 people were encountered occurred by Office of Field Operations officers at border bridges, which is an increase of 183% compared to March. 71% of all southwest land border encounters were single adults, with 166,814 encounters in April, which represents a 2% decrease compared to March, CBP says.

96,908 people or 41% of total monthly encounters were deported under Title 42.

ValleyCentral received this statement from DHS on the Title 42 policy:

“As we have repeatedly stated, Title 42 is not an immigration authority, but a public health authority employed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to protect against the spread of communicable disease, in this case, COVID-19. We will comply with the court’s order to continue enforcing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Title 42 Order as long as it remains in place. Meanwhile, DHS will continue to execute its comprehensive, whole-of-government plan to manage potential increases in the number of migrants encountered at our border. As part of this effort, DHS has established a Southwest Border Coordination Center to execute those plans. DHS will also increase personnel and resources as needed, and has already redeployed more than 600 additional law enforcement officers to the border.”

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

For now, Border Patrol agents say the mission is the same. 

“We are ready. We are always surging resources and we’ve been there before, and we’ll continue to what we do and use all the resources available,” said Agent Aldaya.

More than 24,792 CBP employees have tested positive for COVID-19 with 67 deaths reported.

As the summer months approach, U.S. Border Patrol agents are preparing for yet another influx in crossings and migrant rescues.

“Every day we will continue to do the job,” said Agent Aldaya. It’s possible by the summer, Title 8 will be the primary policy being implemented on the border.

A CBP spokesman released this statement in relation to Title 8:

Under Title 8, those who attempt to enter the United States without authorization, and who are unable to establish a legal basis to remain in the United States (such as a valid asylum claim), will be quickly removed.  Individuals who have been removed are also subject to additional long-term consequences beyond removal from the United States, including bars to future immigration benefits. 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

DHS has been executing a comprehensive strategy to secure our borders and rebuild our immigration system. DHS began planning last September and is leading the execution of a whole-of-government strategy to prepare for and manage any rise in noncitizen encounters.  

That includes: 1) surging resources, including personnel, transportation, medical support, and facilities; 2) increasing processing efficiency, while maintaining the integrity of our screening processes, in order to reduce strain on the border; 3) administering consequences for unlawful entry, including expedited removal and criminal prosecution; 4) bolstering the capacity of NGOs and coordinate with state, local and community partners; 5) targeting and disrupting transnational criminal organizations and human smugglers; and 6) deterring irregular migration south of our border, in partnership with other federal agencies and nations.