Specially trained military police arrive at the border ahead of Title 42’s end, saying ‘we’re well prepared’.

As the pandemic-era restrictions on immigration into the U.S. are set to expire on Thursday, the nation waits with bated breath to see what the aftermath will bring. Officials are emphasizing harsher consequences for those crossing the border illegally, with Title 42 set to expire on May 11. To prepare for a possible influx of individuals crossing the border overnight, the state deployed thousands of soldiers and built 70 miles of fencing to force migrants to come to the U.S. through a port of entry. Texas soldiers and airmen from the Quick Reaction Force have been marching towards the Brownsville border, ready and equipped to put eyes on key terrain and help maintain order.

Despite warnings that crossing the border is putting too many lives in danger, some migrants are still taking the risk. Witnesses tell KENS 5 the size of the migrant camp in Matamoros Wednesday is three times larger than it was during Remain in Mexico. When standing on the U.S. side of the border, bus after bus hauls people from the border to the bus station in downtown Brownsville. Once the migrants arrive, they are on their own to pay for a bus or plane ticket to their next destination.

For some migrants, the journey has been long and grueling. Griselda Martinez and her family left Venezuela April 18 with a group of 10. Martinez, along with her daughters, her husband, grandchildren, and a great-grandchild, arrived in Matamoros Sunday. The youngest person traveling in her group was her 3-year-old great-grandson. Sunday, the family was separated at the border, putting Martinez and her daughter alone on the U.S. side of the border. Martinez waits along with other hopeful families to be reunited with their kin.

However, some activists like Joshua Rubin, Founder of Witness at the Border, claim that the situation is ripe for chaos. Rubin documents any injustices he witnesses against migrants, promoting a more humanitarian response. He claimed that people are perched by the river, looking and deciding, “Am I going to wait for my appointment with CBP One? Or am I going to get in that water and go across?” Rubin thinks that some migrants in Matamoros may end up taking the chance to cross early to avoid a potentially worse legal situation when Title 42 ends, perpetuating the risk of crossing the border.

On Wednesday, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas sent a stern message to the public. Mayorkas emphasized that when Title 42 ends, the border is not open; it is quite the opposite. Come midnight when Title 8 is re-established, there will be harsher consequences for those who cross the border illegally. People will be subject to a five-year bar on reentry into the U.S. and can face criminal prosecution if they try to cross again. Mayorkas warns that smugglers have long been hard at work spreading false information that the border will reopen May 11, emphasizing that smugglers care only about profit, not people.

Overall, the situation remains volatile, with the looming possibility of an influx of migrants with tougher consequences for those crossing the border illegally. With such a multifaceted situation, the potential for disaster is high, and authorities and officials must remain vigilant.

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