by Jason Hopkins
The Trump administration is beefing up its resources at the U.S.-Mexico border as it continues to deal with a massive influx of illegal immigrants.
Acting Defense Secretary Richard Spencer approved Tuesday night the deployment of 1,200 active-duty troops and another 1,000 Texas National Guard personnel to the U.S. southern border, Department of Defense spokesperson Maj. Chris Mitchell said in a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The Texas National Guard troops will be split up in their duties, with 750 personnel to “provide supplemental holding support to [Customs and Border Protection] at CBP’s temporary adult migrant holding facilities in Donna, Texas, and Tornillo, Texas,” and the other 250 will provide “port of entry (POE) enforcement support at CBP-designated POEs and airports in Texas to enhance border security and improve the flow of commercial traffic,” Mitchell said.
“Decisions regarding arming military personnel and related rules for the use of force will be informed by the circumstances of their mission and be made by the Governor of Texas, in consultation with CBP,” Mitchell continued in his statement.
The announcement comes after the Department of Defense earlier in July requested the Pentagon to authorized an additional 1,000 Texas National Guard to help with operations along the southern border.
“All this is necessary because Congress refuses to do its job,” Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbot stated in June when announcing his intention to place 1,000 more National Guard troops at the state’s southern border. “It leaves states like Texas fending for themselves.”
The deployments — which are slated to take place in the next several weeks — will bring total troop numbers to around 6,000. There are already about 2,500 active-duty and 2,000 National Guard troops currently stationed at the southern border, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Customs and Border Protection, for the first time this year, witnessed a decline in the number of illegal immigrants who reached the U.S. illegally. Border Patrol agents apprehended or turned away 104,344 unauthorized aliens in June — a 28% drop from the 144,278 encounters that took place the prior month. The drop came after apprehensions along the U.S.-Mexico border had been increasing each month since January.
However, leaders within the Department of Homeland Security cation that the situation is still a full-blown crisis, with thousands of family units and unaccompanied minors arriving at the border, burdening agencies tasked with caring for them. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said Thursday that 800,000 migrants have been encountered since Oct. 1, 2018.
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Jason Hopkins is a reporter for the Daily Caller News Foundation.