The Biden administration will send 1,500 troops to the U.S. southern border ahead of an expected surge in illegal crossings next week.
Title 42, a Trump-era public health order that allowed for the immediate expulsion of illegal immigrants, is set to be repealed on May 11. Title 42’s end is widely expected to bring a fresh cascade of illegal migration, with some predicting as many as 11,000 crossings a day.
The troops will perform administrative and logistical functions, leaving law enforcement to the Border Patrol, but freeing up border agents to actively police the border and apprehend migrants, according to Fox News. The military personnel will join 2,500 National Guard troops already assisting at the border.
“For 90 days, 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,” Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder told Fox News in a statement. “Military personnel will not directly participate in law enforcement activities. This deployment to the border is consistent with other forms of military support to DHS over many years.”
The Biden administration’s move to post military personnel at the border is reminiscent of an action taken by former President Donald Trump ahead of the 2018 midterm election. Trump ordered 5,200 active-duty troops to the border to help secure it against a caravan of migrants that, at the time, numbered 3,500 people.
Democrats at the time, including then-Sen. Kamala Harris (CA), said Trump’s troop surge to the border left them “deeply disturbed by the overt politicization of the military.”
Illegal immigration has surged to unprecedented levels since Biden was elected. On Monday, Border Patrol chief Raul Ortiz reported that law enforcement made over 22,000 apprehensions at the southern border over three days, or about 7,000 per day.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the Biden administration was sending troops to make up for the lack of action taken by Congress to fix a broken border system.
“More work needs to be done,” said Jean-Pierre. “We put forth comprehensive immigration legislation, and Republicans in Congress refused to act, and so the president has used the tools he has in front of him to prepare ahead of Title 42 lifting.”
DOOCY TIME: “If the border is secure, as the administration has said, then why would we need to send 1,500 active-duty U.S. troops down there?”
KJP: “B/c we need more work. We need more–work needs to be done…Republicans refused to act…We are putting…forth processes” pic.twitter.com/BUflB1dKBn
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) May 2, 2023
El Paso Democratic Mayor Oscar Leeser declared a state of emergency in his city ahead of Title 42’s end. El Paso already has illegal migrants sleeping on its streets as it prepares for a wave of migrants on the heels of Title 42’s repeal next week. During a press conference announcing the state of emergency, Leeser said he visited Juarez and saw migrants camping just across the U.S. border waiting for the health policy to end.
“I literally went through the streets, looked at people camping out on the streets, went to the shelters and kind of assessed the amount of people that are getting prepared to come into the United States for asylum seeking,” Leeser said.