US to temporarily deploy 1,500 soldiers on border with Mexico

Washington, May 2 (EFE).- The Pentagon will deploy 1,500 soldiers along the border with Mexico for 90 days to support US Border Patrol agents, a US official told EFE Tuesday.

The troops will fill gaps in crucial capabilities, such as field monitoring and detection, data entry and other support tasks until Customs and Border Protection (CBP) can handle those tasks itself, the official said.

The source emphasized that the soldiers will not carry out any tasks connected with “law enforcement.”

The Pentagon will send the reinforcements to the border in response to a request by the Department of Homeland Security, which is responsible for overall border security.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at her daily press briefing on Tuesday that the additional troops will carry out “administrative tasks” and “will not be performing law enforcement functions or interacting with immigrants, or migrants,” a situation that will “free up Border Patrol agents to perform their critical law enforcement duties.”

The Defense Department, she added, has supported CBP along the border “for almost two decades,” adding that doing so is “a common practice.”

She emphasized, however, that sending the 1,500 military personnel “would not be necessary if Congress would act” in bipartisan manner and approve the “comprehensive” immigration reform plan that has been pushed by President Joe Biden since he took office in January 2021.

The decision to deploy the additional troops was announced just as the US is preparing for an increase in the northward flow of undocumented migrants connected with the May 11 expiration of Title 42, a measure under which immediate expulsions of undocumented migrants have been carried out for the past few years using the pretext of preventing potential carriers of the coronavirus from entering the country.

Last week, the US announced a series of measures to reduce the migrant flow after May 11, including the creation of migrant centers in Colombia and Guatemala to process the requests of people who want to emigrate to the US.

In addition, both Spain and Canada have agreed to take in migrants processed at those centers.

Since Title 42 entered into force in 2020 during the presidency of Donald Trump, the US has expelled more than 2.5 million undocumented migrants.

In a recent hearing before a congressional committee, CBP interim director Troy Miller said that authorities expect the number of illegal border crossings into the US to increase to 10,000 per day once Title 42 lapses.



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