US To Send 1,500 Troops To Mexico Border Over Migrant Surge
President Joe Biden’s administration will temporarily send 1,500 additional troops to help secure the U.S.-Mexico border, a U.S. official told Reuters on Tuesday, in preparation for a possible rise in illegal immigration when COVID border restrictions lift later this month.
The so-called Title 42 restrictions, set to end on May 11, allow U.S. authorities to rapidly expel non-Mexican migrants to Mexico without the chance to seek asylum.
Biden, a Democrat running for reelection in 2024, has grappled with record numbers of migrants caught illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border since he took office in 2021.
Republicans have criticized Biden for rolling back the hardline policies of Republican former President Donald Trump, the frontrunner for his party’s nomination. Some Democrats and immigration activists also have lambasted Biden for gradually toughening his approach to border security.
The active-duty troops would supplement the work of the U.S. Border Patrol but not carry out law enforcement, the official said on condition of anonymity. They would instead conduct ground-based monitoring and data entry to free up border agents, the official added.
The force would add to the ongoing deployment of about 2,500 National Guard troops.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, when asked about the troop deployment in a news conference, said the U.S. is a sovereign nation and that Mexico respects its decisions.
U.S. military troops have been used to help secure the border during previous presidential administrations, including Republican George W. Bush, Democrat Barack Obama and Trump, who deployed thousands of active-duty and National Guard troops.
Pentagon leaders have long been frustrated about military deployments to the border, privately arguing that the mundane tasks are better suited for law enforcement agencies and can affect military readiness.