1500 Troops to Arrive on Border Next Week

May 3, 2023

The White House said Tuesday that some 1,500 active military troops will arrive on the U.S.-Mexico border starting next week.

The military support is happening in anticipation of an influx of possibly tens of thousands of migrants after the national Covid-19 public health emergency officially ends on May 11, and the implementation of the health code Title 42 policy of border expulsions will no longer be legally justified.

First implemented as a border policy by the Trump Administration, the Biden Administration invoked Title 42 to expel migrants more than 2 million times, although many were repeat border-crossers.

White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday that the additional military personnel being sent to the border will do data entry, warehouse support and other administrative tasks so that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) can focus on fieldwork.

The troops, pulled from the Army and Marine Corps., won’t be “performing law enforcement functions or interacting with immigrants, or migrants,” Jean-Pierre said. “This will free up Border Patrol agents to perform their critical law enforcement duties.”

The troops will be deployed for 90 days. The Pentagon will backfill the two military branches with National Guard and Reserve troops in the meantime. 

According to Pentagon spokesperson Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, there are already some 2,500 National Guard troops at the border. 

“DOD personnel have been supporting CBP at the border for almost two decades now,” Jean-Pierre said. “So this is a common practice.”

According to CBP, migrants from Mexico and northern Central America accounted for 24% of unique encounters in December 2022, a significant drop from 42% the year prior.

However, CBP further said the number of “unique individuals encountered on the southwest land border in December 2022 was 216,162,” an 11% increase from the prior month.

Nationwide total encounters for the fiscal year through December 2022 was 863,929. 

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