The chaos and confusion at the border today is exactly what President Joe Biden wanted to avoid when he announced a major change in immigration policy.

A makeshift campsite has sprung up between two 30ft fences which divide San Diego in the United States from Tijuana in Mexico.

There has been a significant increase in the number of migrants in recent weeks at crossings along the 2,000 mile (3,219km) long border.

People have been anticipating the lifting of Title 42, a COVID-era policy, first introduced by the Trump administration, which allowed migrants to be swiftly expelled on public health grounds.

There has been a surge in migrants seeking to cross the border

Volunteers pass nappies, water, sun cream and other supplies through gaps in the metal slats.

But a dispute breaks out over blankets.

“Back up, back up, we are stopping the distribution,” one charity worker shouts.

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There is no shelter to protect themselves from the baking sun in the day and the bracing cold at night.

Many have been here for several days already and tell me they are receiving little food and water.

It is usually single men at this crossing but now they are outnumbered by women, children and babies.

Some have tied sheets of tarpaulin, cardboard and even bin bags to the fence in an effort to create a tent to give themselves some privacy.

‘Little dignity’

But there is little dignity here as they hand mobile phones through the fence in the hope someone on the US side of the border might be able to charge them, so they can let friends and family back home know where they are.

People have come from all over the world, from central and South America, from Asia and Europe.

Everyone here has an individual story, a reason for why they are trying to enter the US, often after a harrowing journey.

I speak to two women, a gay couple from Jamaica, who say they cannot live freely there.

A Catholic family from Jordan, with a one year old baby, have been on the road now for two months, fleeing religious persecution – they say – in their home country.

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Aid worker Adriana Jasso, from the Quaker organisation, American Friends Service Committee, hands trainers through the fence.

She has witnessed a dramatic change in the make-up of the group of people on the other side.

She said: “We have seen more women with children, more family units.

“We had some babies sleeping out in the open for a few nights. We are concerned about the fact that some of the families have been here for three nights, for four days.”

A woman from Kenya tells me she believes the lifting of Title 42 will make it easier to gain asylum in the US.

Someone else says they believed there was a midnight deadline to be processed by border authorities.

Amid the uncertainty, the Biden administration sought to deter people travelling to the border.

Secretary of homeland security Alejandro Mayorkas tweeted: “Do not believe the lies of smugglers. The border is not open.”

But thousands are already here or on their way.