On Tuesday, the White House announced that 1,500 active-duty troops will be deployed to the southern border next week in anticipation of a surge in illegal crossings due to the COVID-era Title 42 ending, the Associated Press reported.
According to press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, the military personnel will handle data entry, warehouse support, and additional administrative tasks to allow Customs and Border Protection to focus on border enforcement.
Jean-Pierre emphasized that the military will not perform any law enforcement functions nor would troops interact with the illegals crossing the border.
Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters on Tuesday that the troops, pulled from the US Marine Corps and Army, will remain at the border for 90 days. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin aims to backfill with Reserve troops and National Guard during the 90 days, Ryder added.
Currently, 2,500 members of the National Guard are already at the southern border.
Title 42, which allowed border officials to turn away tens of thousands of illegal aliens at the southern border, will be lifted on May 11. As such, border officials are bracing for a surge in border crossings.
The president’s plan, announced just one week after he officially began his reelection campaign, is seen by some Republicans as an effort to give the impression that Biden is taking the crisis at the border seriously.
In a statement to Breitbart News, Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton described the president’s plan as a “publicity stunt” designed to confuse Americans into thinking the Biden administration is taking illegal immigration seriously. Cotton said the troops are not being sent to secure the border. Instead, the president will use them to “process illegal immigrants faster,” Cotton said.
Democrat lawmakers oppose Biden’s deployment of troops as the president is using the same tactics as former President Donald Trump who also deployed active-duty troops to the southern border to help border patrol process large caravans of illegals.
Jean-Pierre attempted to downplay the similarity between Biden’s handling of the border and Trump’s use of troops, arguing that using the military is “common practice.” She said military personnel have been supporting Customs and Border Protection for nearly twenty years.