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More than 24,000 US agents are stationed along the Mexican border

The U.S. is deploying more than 24,000 officers and law enforcement along its southern border with Mexico as Joe Biden’s administration fears an influx of migrants with a planned end to measures taken during the pandemic, a U.S. government official said Wednesday.

“The border has more than 24,000 agents and law enforcement personnel and more than 1,100 Border Patrol Coordinators,” a senior official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

He added that this is “a record number of personnel, infrastructure and resources deployed at the border in preparation for what we expect to be some very difficult weeks”.

That’s not counting the 1,500 soldiers the Department of Defense will deploy to the Mexican border, in addition to the 2,500 already there.

The U.S. plans to increase repatriation flights and 7,000 additional accommodations at special centers, he said.

Barring the final turn, the fixture, known as “Title 42,” ends at 11:59 p.m. Washington time on Thursday (3:59 GMT Friday). It made it nearly impossible to seek asylum in the United States and allowed the immediate deportation of immigrants to Mexico in the name of fighting against COVID-19.

Asked by reporters at the White House on Tuesday evening, Mr. Biden responded: “We’ll see. It’s going to be confusing for a while.”

Thousands of migrants have already piled up at the border with Mexico, and U.S. officials estimate it will “continue for several more weeks,” the official noted.

“Title 42” was implemented by former President Donald Trump’s administration in 2020 in the name of combating the COVID-19 pandemic. His successor extended its validity.

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In addition, the U.S. eventually intends to open “more than a hundred regional centers for administrative management” of immigrants, among other measures aimed at facilitating legal immigration, another U.S. official said.

Similar centers are already planned in Colombia and Guatemala, but the U.S. hopes to “open about 100 in key locations on the continent,” he said, without specifying where.

Managed with international partners, these centers will make it possible to conduct initial checks and expedite procedures for legal entry into the United States.

At the same time, the United States is tightening procedures for deporting immigrants who entered the United States illegally, while pledging to accept thousands more refugees from Latin and Central American countries.