The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has requested an additional 1,500 military personnel from the Department of Defense (DoD) to support efforts at the Southwest Border for a period of 90 days.
This request is in anticipation of an increase in migration as DHS prepares for the return to Title 8 immigration enforcement.
Military personnel will do data entry, warehouse support and other administrative tasks so that U.S. Customs and Border Protection can focus on fieldwork, said White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre.
The troops “will not 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.”
They will be deployed for 90 days, and will be pulled from the Army and Marine Corps, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will look to backfill with National Guard or Reserve troops during that period, Pentagon spokesman Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said. There are already 2,500 National Guard members at the border.
“Everyone agrees – everyone agrees – our immigration system is outdated and badly broken,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “We must tackle the challenges before us together. This includes the potential for increases in migration after May 11 and the strain it will place on our communities, our workforce, and our system.”
The military personnel will not perform law enforcement duties, and is restricted to ground-based detection and monitoring, data entry, and warehouse support.
According to a release dated May 2, 2023, DoD personnel have never performed law enforcement activities or interact with migrants or other individuals in DHS custody.
Military support will free up DHS personnel to perform critical law enforcement missions.
The Customs and Border Protection agency is investing in technology and personnel to reduce its need for DoD support in the coming years, but DHS continues to call on Congress to support these efforts.
The release also announced that beginning May 12, 2023, DHS will no longer require non-U.S. travelers entering the United States via land ports of entry and ferry terminals to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and provide related proof of vaccination upon request.
This change is in alignment with the end of the Public Health Emergency and the termination of the Presidential Proclamation on air travel.
Mayorkas also announced that the ineligibility for the parole processes for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans will now extend to individuals who take to the seas and are interdicted trying to arrive at the maritime borders of the United States.
The United States Coast Guard will increase its presence to interdict migrants trying to reach the United States by sea.
Additionally, the departments of Justice and Homeland Security are finalizing a regulation that will reward individuals who avail themselves of lawful, safe, and orderly pathways and discourage dangerous border crossings by placing a new condition on asylum eligibility for those who fail to use those pathways.
They aim to have the rule finalized by May 11 and pledged to swiftly implement it.
Mayorkas emphasized the importance of working together to tackle the challenges before us and the need to modernize our immigration system.
This includes the potential for increases in migration after May 11 and the strain it will place on our communities, our workforce, and our system.
DHS is surging resources to the border, modernizing processes, attacking smuggling organizations, strengthening immigration enforcement tools, and partnering with nations in the region to address the challenges of unprecedented migration throughout the hemisphere.