Hobbs criticizes Biden administration’s response to Title 42 expiration during Tucson visit

Hobbs is planning to use $7 million from the border security fund to scale up operations with $15 million in the state budget for transportation.
Published: May. 9, 2023 at 8:46 PM MST|Updated: May. 10, 2023 at 5:46 PM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — Pressure is mounting along the border as Title 42 is set to expire in just two days. When the policy lifts, the Biden administration expects a surge of migrants to cross the border, including in the Tucson sector.

On Tuesday, Gov. Katie Hobbs had plenty of criticism for the federal government’s response. Tens of thousands of migrants have been crossing the border in the Tucson sector this year, trying to request asylum here in the U.S.

Hobbs says shelters are full, and city leaders are working around the clock to prepare for the end of Title 42 with little guidance from the Biden administration. “The state stands prepared to scale up its transportation, shelter, and public safety activities to meet the need on the ground,” she said.

More than 35,000 migrants crossed through the Tucson sector in March, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protections. It’s the most migrants crossing that border in a single month since Title 42 was implemented. “Already today, we have heard reports from border communities that are seeing their capacities strained,” Hobbs said.

An already strained system is expected to worsen as the COVID-era policy, which allows border patrol to turn undocumented immigrants away at the border much easier, is set to lapse. “Immigration and some of the concerns may be considered a federal issue, a federal concern but it becomes very, very real to each and every one of us here in Pima County when we’re dealing with the safety of the guests coming into Pima County and our folks who live in Pima County,” said Jan Lesher, Pima County Administrator.

On Tuesday, 550 U.S. active-duty troops started arriving at the border, in addition to the enforcement operation announced by the Department of Homeland Security Monday. Still, Hobbs criticized the lack of guidance as a border state. “We’ve been asking repeatedly for what the plan is, and we haven’t gotten a lot of details,” she said.

Hobbs is planning to use $7 million from the border security fund to scale up operations with $15 million in the state budget for transportation. Still, she’s demanding more action from the federal government. “Finalizing the shelter and services program, addressing the processing challenges at our ports of entry, directing DHS to develop a specific plan to decompress border communities with a large influx acts and continuing to target fentanyl smugglers who may exploit this situation for their own gain,” Hobbs said.

Title 42 is set to end just before 9 p.m. Thursday. Under the policy, 2.5 million migrants have been turned away at the border.