Scenes From the Border as Title 42 Expires

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Tens of thousands of migrants are expected to attempt to enter the United States in the next few days, after a Covid-era immigration policy known as Title 42 expires late on Thursday. The policy allowed the rapid expulsion of migrants on public health grounds.

Many people crossing the border are adults traveling alone. Others travel in family groups, big or small, carrying children and whatever supplies or belongings they can hold. They muscle across rivers, lift one another through challenging terrain and often rely on the generosity of community groups for food and water.

New York Times photographers are documenting the experience on both sides of the border, from Tijuana on the West Coast to Matamoros near the Gulf of Mexico.

Migrants standing near a Border Patrol officer as they wait to be processed.

Migrants waiting to be processed by Border Patrol agents after they crossed the Rio Grande into the U.S. from Mexico.

A group of migrants from Peru cries after they arrived in the United States a few minutes before the expiration of Title 42.

Border Patrol agents detaining people for processing shortly after Title 42 expires.

Migrants who turned themselves in at the Mexico and U.S. border are taken into custody at Gate 42 in El Paso.

In the hours leading up to the end of Title 42, a Border Patrol officer searches for a group of migrants that recently crossed the border into Sunland Park, New Mexico.

Erwin Gomez, from Venezuela, broke his wrist when he fell climbing the border fence last week, and was sent to a hospital instead of being expelled. He has been staying at Annunciation House, a shelter in El Paso.

Migrants lining up to be processed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection in a makeshift camp just north of the Rio Grande, in El Paso.

Migrants, some of whom had been in the same spot for days, waited to be processed by U.S. authorities.

Migrants sitting between two fences in an area known as “Limbo” or “No Man’s Land” as they waited for their appointments with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Osiris Yamileth Ochoa Núñez, 20, left; her husband, Elvis Josué Codela, 27; and their 8-month-old daughter passed the time near an official port of entry to the United States by selling gum.

Several thousand migrants waiting in Mexico for appointments to apply for asylum, as required under Title 42, have been living in squalid conditions along the southern bank of the Rio Grande.

A cellphone charging station at the Regional Center for Border Health in Somerton, on the outskirts of the city of Yuma, where migrants released by Border Patrol are taken to get help to buy plane tickets.

A group of at least 500 migrants from around the world, including Peru, Brazil, Ghana and Thailand, began crossing the border near Yuma, Ariz., in darkness early Thursday.

People clustered near a border fence to buy food ordered through delivery apps as they waited for the next leg of their journey.

In San Diego, some had been waiting in the same spot for days. State officials are concerned that a major surge in migrants could overwhelm homeless shelters and hospitals not just in the city, but across California.

Right across the border from El Paso, Texas, people are increasingly arriving on a freight train so dangerous it is known either as “the beast” or “the train of death” because so many migrants have fallen off and lost limbs or been killed.

Men who had previously entered the United States waited in a bus to board a deportation flight at El Paso International Airport.

People being repatriated to Guatemala boarded a jet in El Paso.

Migrants rushed to reach the northern bank of the Rio Grande before U.S. National Guardsmen could finish installing concertina wire to block their access.

People processed at the border washed a vehicle in hopes of being given money to pay for bus tickets to continue farther into the United States.

A group of people crossed the Rio Grande from Mexico, as National Guard soldiers waited on the riverbank on the U.S. side.

After crossing the river, they followed a path up from the riverbank into U.S. territory.

Maritza Carrizo, an asylum seeker from Barinas, Venezuela, sat on a bunk bed at a migrant shelter. She and several relatives had appointments the next day to cross the border and request asylum.

At 10 a.m., dozens of people attempted to book asylum appointments using the Customs and Border Protection’s smartphone app. Most of the newly available appointment times were taken within five minutes, they said.

At a local shelter, people lined up to collect a meal.

Karolayn Paz Majares, a Venezuelan migrant, cried after hearing that migrants would be allowed to stay on U.S. soil as they waited to surrender to the Border Patrol in El Paso.

A member of the Texas Army National Guard spoke with a migrant about a plan to install fencing around an area near Gate 40 of the border wall where people who have crossed the river have been waiting to turn themselves in.

A Venezuelan woman shielded herself from the sun with her passport while waiting in line for processing by American border officials.

Migrants rode in open freight cars across an arid landscape toward the border. The metal walls of the train got so cold at night it was hard to sleep, and so hot during the day that touching them with bare skin was painful.

Venezuelans who had come north on the freight train crossed the border a few hours later.

Ruben Soto, right, from Venezuela, with Rosa Bello, from Honduras, as they rode on a freight car.

Migrants crossed through a gap in the concertina wire on the United States side of the border. Some were ferrying supplies of food and water.

Crowds gathered near the border fence in El Paso to turn themselves in to the Border Patrol for processing.

About 200 members of the Texas National Guard arrived in El Paso by air to provide assistance along the border.

Venezuelan migrants climbed between hopper cars on a freight train, hoping to make their way to the border.

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