U.S. President Joe Biden
U.S. President Joe Biden boards Air Force One. Photo by: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

Starting next week, 1,500 active-duty troops will be sent to the U.S.-Mexico border by the Biden administration.

This comes ahead of an expected migrant surge following the end of Covid-19-era restrictions.

With Title 42 set to end next week, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Tuesday agreed to send the soldiers to the border at the Biden administration's request.

White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday that the troops will do data entry and other administrative tasks so that U.S. Customs and Border Protection can do the fieldwork, reported the Associated Press.

Jean-Pierre shared that the soldiers "will not be performing law enforcement functions or interacting with immigrants, or migrants."

Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder also shared that for 90 days, the soldiers will fill "critical capability gaps, such as ground-based detection and monitoring, data entry, and warehouse support." They will be doing all these tasks until the Border Patrol agents can address these "needs through contracted support."

According to New York Post, the Department of Homeland Security asked for the Pentagon's assistance to get ahead of an expected surge of migrants when Title 42 ends May 11.

Ryder said that soldiers will start arriving in the border area on May 10, and that they will be armed but only allowed to use their weapons for self-defense.

There's just a week left before soldiers are set to deploy, so Ryder said that the Pentagon chose to send the active-duty forces over reserve units to get them to the border faster.

CNN reported that Democratic Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey found the decision to deploy the soldiers "unacceptable."

He said that the Biden Administration's "militarization of the border is unacceptable," and that there is already a "humanitarian crisis in the Western Hemisphere." He thinks that deploying military personnel only signals that "migrants are a threat that require our nation's troops to contain," and that "nothing could be further from the truth."

Biden's predecessor Donald Trump's administration had also approved similar troop surges to the southern border. About four years ago, more than 3,000 additional active-duty troops were deployed to the border to bolster security. They had joined the 2,300 soldiers who were already there.

© 2024 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.