1500 soldiers sent to the US – Mexican border to help with asylum seekers
The Biden administration’s decision to deploy 1,500 active-duty troops to the southern border comes as the United States continues to grapple with an increase in asylum seekers willing to come to the US.
In March 2021, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported a 20-year high in the number of immigrants apprehended at the US – Mexican border, with more than 172,000 migrants intercepted. These are people trying to come to the US not through points of entry, but through unfenced areas, rivers, desert, etc.
In March 2020, the Trump administration invoked Title 42, a public health restriction that allows border officials to refuse asylum seekers to prevent the spread of the virus. The Biden administration has announced that it will end the policy on May 11, 2023. After this happens, many people are expected to come to the US – Mexican border to seek asylum in the States.
The decision to deploy 1,500 active-duty troops to the southern border was made in response to a request from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which cited an “anticipated increase in migration.” The deployment will last 90 days and will not involve law enforcement activities like detaining or processing immigrants. Instead, the military units will provide operational support, including transportation, administrative duties, narcotics detection, data entry, and warehouse support. DHS stressed that military personnel would not engage in law enforcement activities or interact with migrants.
In addition to the 1,500 active-duty troops, approximately 2,500 National Guard troops are already at the US – Mexican border to support CBP.