The Pentagon is sending a contingent of troops to the southern border to reinforce Customs and Border Protection (CBP) missions ahead of an expected surge in migrant entrances later this month, a U.S. official confirmed to the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requested the Pentagon’s assistance as Title 42, a Trump-era authority implemented in the wake of COVID-19 is scheduled to sunset on May 11, opening the way for thousands of migrants who would formerly be subject to expulsion to seek entry into the U.S. A temporary addition of 1,500 military personnel will mostly perform administrative tasks and will not conduct any law enforcement work, leaving that to CBP, the U.S. official told the DCNF, which was later confirmed by Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder in a statement.
“At the request of DHS, DOD (Department of Defense) will provide a temporary increase of an additional 1,500 military personnel, for 90 days, to supplement CBP efforts at the border,” the official said. “These 1,500 military personnel will fill critical capability gaps, such as ground-based detection and monitoring, data entry, and warehouse support, until CBP can address these needs through contracted support.” (RELATED: Biden Requests More Than $50 Million For ‘Unexpected Urgent’ Needs Of Migrants, Refugees)
“They will not be doing any law enforcement work,” the official added.
Most troops will come from active duty Army units and will be armed for self-defense, Politico reported, citing three U.S. officials. Administrative work performed by the troops will free up Border Patrol resources for processing migrant claims, the officials said.
The official who spoke to the DCNF did not say whether the troops would be drawn from active duty units or be called up from the Ready Reserve, but added that more details should become available soon.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin approved DHS’s request Tuesday, Ryder told the DCNF. .
“This deployment to the border is consistent with other forms of military support to DHS over many years,” he said.
President Joe Biden issued an executive order Thursday authorizing Austin and DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to call up reserve troops to active duty for anti-drug missions at the southwest border, essentially granting pre-approval for the migrant mission, Politico reported, citing DOD officials.
The miltiary assistance come on top of 2,500 National Guard troops already stationed at the border, according to Politico.
The U.S. has & will continue to enforce our nation’s immigration laws. The U.S. border is not open to illegal or irregular migration, & U.S. immigration laws remain strict even as the COVID-19 public health Order known as Title 42 ends.
Explained here ➡️ https://t.co/7GgRUMzdgk pic.twitter.com/nrweuU8TWf
— Homeland Security (@DHSgov) April 26, 2023
Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Mayorkas laid out plans to accommodate the expected migrant surge on April 27, including expanded legal pathways for entering the U.S. and harsher penalties for attempting to enter illegally.
When former President Donald Trump deployed active-duty troops to the U.S.-Mexico border, he faced criticism from Democratic lawmakers who called the move politically motivated and said it would damage military readiness, Politico reported.
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