Border Patrol Positions Bus to Block Media From Documenting This

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EL PASO, Texas— At midnight on Thursday evening, the pandemic-era rule allowing authorities to expel illegal immigrants at the southern border expired. A large group of migrants waited outside Gate 42 in El Paso, Texas, to enter the United States from Mexico. 

As reporters at the border in El Paso sought to document the illegal immigrants’ entrance into the U.S., Border Patrol authorities positioned buses so that media could not properly see or film the scene. A woman reportedly from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner’s Office told reporters of the migrants, “We are trying to protect their privacy.”

The Daily Signal’s drone footage shows the illegal immigrants crossing through the gate and getting onto buses. In the early hours of Friday morning, three buses were filled with migrants and then departed. These illegal immigrants will be taken to processing facilities, The Daily Signal was told. 

CBP did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Border Patrol previously told The Daily Signal that the El Paso Sector has two processing centers—each set up with a capacity to house about 1,000 people—and that officials intend to set up a third center by the end of June. 

On Thursday, CBP Officer Landon Hutchens said a third processing center is currently being instated. 

The end of Title 42 will also bring more paperwork. Under the public health measure, implemented from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance during the COVID-19 pandemic, Border Patrol could immediately expel illegal immigrants in an effort to prevent the further spread coronavirus cases in the U.S. But without Title 42, each migrant will be allowed to remain in the United States and will receive an alien registration number, creating a new case with its own paperwork.

Mark Morgan, former acting Customs and Border Protection commissioner and Heritage Foundation visiting fellow, warned in a statement Thursday that “rather than replacing Title 42 with a strong and proven deterrence-and-consequence strategy—giving the Border Patrol a fighting chance to regain operational control of our borders from the cartels—[Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro] Mayorkas has chosen to re-write the law, abuse authority, and continue to transform the statutory mission of Department of Homeland Security law enforcement agencies away from their national security responsibilities.”

“Make no mistake: As Title 42 goes away, more dangerous narcotics, criminals, and potential national security threats will pour across our borders, as agents are preoccupied fulfilling their new mission as a ‘processing enterprise,’” he added. (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)

On Thursday, the Secure the Border Act (HR 2) passed the House of Representatives but was opposed by every House Democrat. That legislation, which sought to end the abuse of U.S. immigration laws by both President Joe Biden’s administration and illegal immigrants, would close loopholes used for asylum fraud, end the process of “catch and release” and the use of mass parole, and more. 

It would also expand penalties for visa overstays; mandate nationwide E-Verify, where employers must verify the legal status of those they hire (thereby reducing incentives for illegal immigration); and close loopholes in the processing of immigrant children, both accompanied and unaccompanied.

The legislation also would resume the construction of the border wall and ban the Biden administration from relying on nongovernmental organizations for processing and transporting illegal aliens within the U.S.