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The United States will be sending troops to the southern border with Mexico, the White House announced on May 2.
The move was unveiled ahead of an expected surge of illegal immigrants as pandemic restrictions, known as Title 42, is set to lift on May 11.
The southern border has been hammered over the past two years by an unprecedented influx of illegal immigrants, leaving Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) struggling to keep up with limited resources.
Agents along the southern border can now expect to receive assistance from federal troops, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday.
Media outlets, citing anonymous officials, reported earlier today that as many as 1,500 troops will come from various branches to assist at the border.
Jean-Pierre emphasized that they would be performing support roles like data entry, transportation, and other administrative tasks. It is hoped that this will free Border Patrol agents up to focus on apprehending illegal aliens crossing the border.
Under President Donald Trump, military servicemembers performed similar functions at the border.
In comments to reporters, Jean-Pierre insisted that “this is a common practice.”
“DOD personnel have been supporting [Customs and Border Protection] at the border for almost two decades now,” she said. “So this is a common practice.”
She added: “These personnel will be performing administrative tasks like data entry and warehouse support. They will not be performing law enforcement functions. This will free up Border Patrol agents to perform their critical law enforcement.”
Despite an unprecedented flow of illegal migrants across the border, the administration has long refrained from using the word “crisis” to describe the situation.
President Joe Biden and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas have each insisted that the border is secure and under operational control.
The decision to send troops to the border comes as Republicans prepare a series of legislation addressing immigration problems along the border.
The Pentagon is expected to hold a press conference on the announcement at 2:00 p.m.
This is a breaking story, check back for updates.
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