EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- There are less migrants on El Paso's streets in areas like Sacred Heart following the expiration of Title 42 Thursday, despite expectations. ABC-7 spoke with county officials to find out why.
"A lot of the [migrants] that crossed were really trying to avoid Title 8," said El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego. "Title eight is really difficult and they'll send you back. And if you come back, it's a five year penalty and you cannot apply for any type of of migration status. And so that's what we expected to be higher."
Instead, the county is seeing a drop in migrants on the streets after many asylum seekers turned themselves into Customs and Border Protection prior to the May 11th deadline. This came after CBP and ICE agents were seen handing out fliers to migrants, encouraging them to turn themselves in for processing. More than 900 migrants were processed as a result.
"The other thing happening is Title 8, they're there to be able to do an interview is about an hour. Under title 42, in some areas you could do as fast as 10, 15 minutes after they had been vetted and everything. The interview process was very quick. The title 8 is really a lengthy process, so they've got two choices. They can either stay, but they're going to be deported, which means, now, it's on record, they'd be deported or they voluntarily can go back to Mexico. And that's what we're seeing a tremendous amount of," said Judge Samaniego.
Yet still, there's an overflow. Samaniego said there are more than 100 migrants outside of Sacred Heart Church, and roughly 30 outside of Rescue Mission of El Paso.
"The overflow is because they're they're waiting to get sponsored or they're waiting for a flight," said Judge Samaniego.
However, there will still be challenges in addressing the overflow.
"Mexico might not accept more than a thousand a day, which would really be difficult for us, because when you look at just like 1900, I think we've sent back in the last two days that were from Venezuela," said Judge Samaniego.