This month, the Biden administration will lose its authority to expel migrants under a pandemic-era restriction known as Title 42.
The news comes amid another massive spike at the border where more than 400,000 migrants have illegally crossed into the U.S. in the past two months.
After a long court battle, Title 42 will expire on Dec. 21.
President Biden's plan is said to include more resources, technology, and enforcement to deal with the millions who continue to pour over the U.S. southern border.
El Paso, Texas is among the border communities seeing an unprecedented jump in illegal immigration with numbers up more than 250% from a year ago. Some migrants are being left to wander the city.
"Title 42 and this expulsion to Mexico policy hasn't worked. What we have seen is people who get sent back to Mexico, there's nothing to do except in Mexico, but try to retry to cross the border again," said David Bier, the associate director of immigration studies at the Cato Institute.
Even so, the expectation is that the loss of this tool will likely lead to even greater numbers of migrants crossing the southern border.
So, the administration is considering drastic measures including barring some asylum seekers and more prosecutions of illegal border crossers. Another option could expand legal avenues for migrants and asylum seekers to enter the U.S.
Although that choice comes as another crisis appears ready for takeoff.
Air Marshals at the Border? What About Protecting Flights?
Last month, the administration ordered that Federal Air Marshals would face indefinite deployment to the border to help with migrant needs, like meals and transportation to hospitals.
The Air Marshal National Council says its officers are ready to risk termination and refuse that order because it would mean 99% of commercial flights would have no federal protection.
"Air marshals are the first federal employees to stand up for the Biden administration and say, 'We have a law enforcement job to do,' and especially as the American public is traveling to places for the holiday," said Anna Giaritelli, a reporter for The Washington Examiner.
The news of even more border problems comes as House Republicans gear up for investigations into the administration's handling of the border and a potential impeachment inquiry into Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
Biden is also under scrutiny for not visiting the border in more than a decade.
Lawmakers from both sides say they are concerned, with several signing a letter to Mayorkas who promised his agency has the situation under control.