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Title 42 set to expire Thursday and U.S. officials expect thousands to cross the border

Title 42 is the emergency order put in place during the pandemic that blocked migrants without documentation from crossing the border.

SAN DIEGO — Just behind the fence at the San Ysidro and Tijuana border are about a couple of hundred people waiting for the expiration of Title 42, the emergency order put in place during the pandemic that blocked migrants without documentation from crossing the border. 

These asylum seekers are thirsty, hungry and tired.

“I’ve been here for three days,” Brian Scott, Asylum seeker said.

Brian Scott is from Jamaica and like the many others here, left the violence and persecution for safety in the U.S. 

“It’s worth it because if I go back to my country I‘m going to be killed. It’s best to stay here," Scott said. 

Sleeping on dirt is better then giving up. Scott said. He and others have had family and friends who have been taken to shelters and are being processed for asylum but it’s hard for them to get in contact with them. 

Catholic Charities in San Diego and Imperial County runs three migrant/asylum-seeking shelters, where they have taken in more than 195,000 asylum-seekers from 122 countries.

“I'm very worried because I don’t know what will happen to me even though I’m alone," said one migrant across the fence.

“The women and children, parts of their families had been taken, but they have no way to contact them and they were frantic about being separated," Nina Douglass, volunteer said.

Nina Douglass is worried about what will happen in the next few days and came armed with food and water. 

The U.S government has not released a plan to handle the thousands of migrants expected to cross the border once Title 42 expires.  

The Villananna came to drop off blankets and heard the stories from those leaving their homes behind. 

“Kind of sad they can’t come over legally," said one volunteer Michael Villanana.

President Biden has been preparing by setting up processing centers in Guatemala and Colombia where people can apply for asylum before they come to the border.  

Once Title 42 expires on May 11, border officials anticipate that as many as 10,000 migrants a day could cross the border: almost double the daily average just a couple months ago.

Unlike Title 42, those migrants crossing the border after May 11 will at least have the opportunity to try to seek asylum in the United States under a federal immigration law, known as Title 8.

Under Title 42, there were no consequences for repeated illegal border crossings.

Under Title 8, though, migrants who are expelled could face more serious consequences.

Watch Related: Title 42 | How do other cities across the nation compare to San Diego (May 5, 2023)

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