Migrants were reportedly encouraged by an online “whisper network” in Mexico to cross the border into the United States before Title 42 ended, NBC News reported on Saturday, May 13th.
The U.S. code, which was enforced in 2020 to restrict immigration based on a public health necessity, was lifted this past week, resulting in a massive wave of migrants heading to the U.S.-Mexico border. However, while at least 21,000 undocumented immigrants were caught entering the U.S. in the three days prior to Title 42’s expulsion, Border Patrol officials told NBC only 6,200 were caught on Friday — the first day after Title 42 ended.
Part of this dropoff is likely due to “rapidly spreading online rumors and a whisper network in Juárez, Mexico,” NBC reported, that encouraged migrants to cross into the United States before Title 42 expired. Described by Newsweek as “an informal chain of conversations,” whisper networks first came to prominence as a way for women to disclose information about sexual harassment, but have since been implemented in other ways — such as an avenue for migrants to receive information.
The whisper network in Juárez made it clear that crossing the border once Title 42 ended would be extremely difficult, NBC reported, with Rosa, a Venezuelan migrant, telling the outlet there were “a lot of talks that after the end of Title 42, it was going to be very difficult to come into the United States.”
Migrants were reportedly fearful of reprisals from Title 8, a U.S. code that allows illegal immigrants to be prosecuted. Title 8 penalties were suspended during Title 42’s implementation, but the latter’s expiration has now put those penalties back on the table.
As trouble continues, a number of border communities have declared disasters, and cities such as Chicago and New York City are bracing for humanitarian issues from an influx of migrants heading north.