BROWNSVILLE, Texas — As border authorities made hundreds of arrests amid a new influx of migrants to the southern US border, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the administration is ready for the end of Title 42 because he’s already been working to take down smugglers.

Mayorkas has been in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley since Thursday to bolster the Biden administration’s plans to stop using Title 42, a pandemic-era restriction that immediately removed immigrants without an asylum hearing. . The policy will expire at the end of the day on May 11, when the US will once again use national immigration laws and other tools targeting asylum seekers.

“We have seen too many deaths, too many tragedies, too much trauma, and the rule that we are finalizing and will put in place by May 11 excludes those smugglers,” Mayorkas told NBC News.

The Border Patrol sector of the Rio Grande Valley that includes Brownsville had about 2,300 apprehensions as of Friday morning. However, some officials have said that tens of thousands more could arrive after the administration ends Title 42.

“The landscape on the border has changed in the last 10 years. Migrants can no longer simply make it to the border on their own. That land south of our border is controlled by smugglers and we are eliminating them,” she said.

Mayorkas said federal officials have arrested more than 10,000 smugglers in increased enforcement and are trying to correct border misinformation smugglers are spreading.

“The border is not open, has not been open, and will not be open after May 11,” Mayorkas said emphatically.

Trying to warn many of those arriving that they could overwhelm the capacity of border facilities and staff members who must process the migrants, Mayorkas said: «They are risking their lives and their savings just to face a consequence that is not They wait at our southern border.”

Mayorkas said he does not support a bill being prepared by Sens. Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz., and Thom Tillis, RN.C., that would effectively extend Title 42 for two more years.

Title 42 «is not a set of immigration rules,» he said, adding that he is not concerned that it is no longer used at the border. The policy has been used to stop migrants from crossing the border 2.5 million times since it went into effect at the start of the pandemic, officials said.

However, illegal border crossings increased as legal avenues were closed. Recidivism rates also increased since Title 42 does not provide for penalties for repeated attempts to cross illegally. In contrast, under Title 8, the immigration law that generally governs enforcement, migrants can face up to two years in prison if they re-enter the country illegally after being removed or deported.

The Biden administration has made a few exceptions to the law, allowing 30,000 Venezuelans, Haitians, Cubans and Nicaraguans to “parole” into the US each month, giving them a temporary stay and the chance to work. In addition, it has been allowing certain family reunification and the entry into the country of people with sponsors.

«We are providing legal pathways for these individuals to come to the United States, as our laws provide, in a safe and orderly manner,» Mayorkas said.

The administration also began requiring people seeking asylum, parole or other legal avenues to use an app to schedule appointments. That app, CBP One, has generated a lot of frustration as some migrants don’t have phones or internet access, places fill up quickly and the technology is glitchy.

The US Customs and Border Protection announced Friday that it is expanding the number of daily appointments available from approximately 800 to approximately 1,000 starting May 12 and giving people 23 hours each day to schedule an appointment at place at a designated time. A percentage of the appointments will go to people who set up their app profiles earlier, so those who wait the longest to get an appointment are prioritized, CBP said in its release.

Mayorkas said the administration distributed money Friday to communities to help them deal with any surge in immigrants. The sheer number of people expected to attempt to cross the border and enter the US is sure to be a challenge that needs help from communities and non-governmental groups, he said.

But he added: «Fundamentally, we are working within a broken immigration system. The challenges we are experiencing at the border now are not new to the United States of America.»

Last Sunday, Mayorkas had said in an interview with NBC News’ Chuck Todd that the administration was working with significant limitations in terms of people, technology, facilities and transportation. To get things moving quickly and efficiently at the border, the administration would need support from Congress, including funding for local communities that will house immigrants released into the country and support for Border Patrol.

Border Patrol officials said it will take longer to process migrants when Title 42 disappears and that the slowdown could result in backlogs at Border Patrol stations and strain agents’ resources.

Julia Ainsley reported from Brownsville, Texas. Suzanne Gamboa reported from San Antonio.