Hundreds of migrants congregated on the banks of the Rio Grande close to Brownsville, Texas, the day before Title 42 was set to expire. Before uniformed authorities repaired the roadblock, several of them broke through a fence because they couldn’t wait any longer and entered American territory.

Most of them hid and bided their time. Elizabeth Guerra, a Brazilian immigrant who described herself as “desperate,” said she intended to give herself in to American immigration authorities at midnight on Thursday when the deportation policy stops.

Officials in Texas communities including Brownsville, Laredo, and El Paso have declared states of emergency in anticipation of hundreds more crossing the border. This enables them to request more funding from the federal government to transport and accommodate the new arrivals.

Nongovernmental groups helping the migrants, according to Anthony “Scott” Good, the head of the Border Patrol’s El Paso area, urged the government to encourage them to turn themselves in by guaranteeing they wouldn’t be deported.

Good said, “But we simply can’t make that assurance.

Thus, it was a risk.

Executive director of a sizable shelter, Annunciation House, Ruben Garcia, said that “people had to trust that the process would work for them.”

In the end, nearly 900 migrants turned themselves in, and the vast majority of them were processed and let back into the nation.

After that, on Thursday morning, all but a small group of individuals remained on the pavement around a church in the city where 2,500 migrants had been camped out for days. The collapsed cardboard boxes where the refugees had slept were no longer there. The overflowing garbage cans were gone. Alleyways that were previously crowded with families were almost deserted.

A 25-year-old Venezuelan immigrant named Paulo Molina claimed to have waited five hours to be let in front of the queue so he could turn himself in to Border Patrol. He had been offered a position at a restaurant, and on Thursday he had a bus ticket to Washington, D.C., in his possession.

“Thank God I got the papers, and now I can be on my way,” he said.