COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – Governor Henry McMaster wants aviation authorities across South Carolina to “immediately report any efforts to deplane or transport illegal immigrants” from commercial airports.
It comes as the United State’s COVID-19 public health emergency, known as Title 42, expired at midnight.
Gov. McMaster and other lawmakers across the country say large numbers of immigrants from around the world have gathered in preparation to illegally cross the border into the United States as that order ends.
McMaster sent a letter Thursday evening to South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) Chief Mark Keel asking that he contact the chief law enforcement official for each commercial airport and direct them to report such activity, along with information identifying the name(s) and vehicle information of anyone involved in transportation efforts.
“It appears that the Biden Administration, specifically the Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, remains committed to denying the existence of – or addressing the humanitarian and national security crisis that they have created,” McMaster said in his letter.
Mayorkas marked the end of Title 42 immigration policy by warning migrants that “the border is not open.”
“Do not believe the lies of smugglers. The border is not open,” he said a minute before midnight on Thursday, echoing his calls throughout this week ahead of the lifting of the policy.
The U.S. has been bracing for an influx of migrants as Title 42, a COVID-era policy allowing for the rapid expulsion of asylum seekers, is set to expire at midnight. The rule was implemented in the early stages of the pandemic under the Trump administration, and President Biden has kept it in place.
House Republicans on Thursday passed legislation to crack down on the border, including finishing former President Trump’s border wall and to restrict access to asylum.
The Hill contributed to this report.