Mecklenburg County commissioners preparing for influx of migrants if Title 42 is lifted

CHARLOTTE — Mecklenburg County Commissioners are expecting a possible influx of migrants from the border when Title 42 is lifted. County Manager Dena Diorio has been meeting with community leaders to prepare.

“Mecklenburg County is fortunate to have a strong set of community partners who stand ready to help serve the migrant populations,” Diorio said.

Diorio briefed commissioners Tuesday night.

Title 42 is a Trump-era policy that allows the U.S. to expel asylum seekers to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It’s been used more than 2.4 million times since being put in place. The Supreme Court will hear arguments in March over whether the Biden administration can lift the federal directive.

Local government officials are preparing a surge of migrants once it is gone.

“It seems we have had a massive failure in our country in addressing this issue and it falls on local government to take care of people when it lands on its doorstep,” Commissioner Susan Rodriguez-McDowell said.

Diorio says the county has identified critical gaps including shelter capacity, long-term housing solutions, and medical care. The Latin American Coalition is planning to use $2 million of COVID-19 relief funds from the county to increase its capacity to offer services, to include helping with housing.

“We already have a homeless challenge in the county and making sure that these families move on and are integrated into our society into our community is helpful for everyone,” said Jose Hernandez-Paris with the Latin American Coalition.

Diorio plans to meet with the community groups again next Tuesday.