“It’s a welcome wagon,” a retired Border Patrol agent says of the 1,500 active-duty troops the Biden administration is sending to the southern border ahead of the expiration of Title 42 on May 11.
The troops will be helping with “non-law enforcement duties,” according to the Homeland Security Department, but Frank Lopez says that likely means they will be assigned tasks like “feeding [illegal aliens], to providing water, [and] blankets for little kids.”
Lopez served in the Border Patrol for 30 years before retiring at the end of 2018. While the situation at the border changes to some degree with each administration, Lopez says “the change under Biden was so drastic, so detrimental, and so anti-enforcement.”
Border Patrol, Customs and Border Protection, and CBP’s Office of Field Operations are running drills and stockpiling goods like food and diapers at the ports of entry in preparation for the end of Title 42, said Lopez, who ran for U.S. Congress as a Texas independent in 2022.
In the Del Rio Sector of the southern border, where Lopez lives, Ali Bradley, News Nation’s border correspondent, reports pallets of thin foil blankets are sitting ready to be handed out to migrants at the processing facilities.
Title 42 is a public health measure set in place by the Trump administration during the COVID-19 pandemic and has allowed the Border Patrol to quickly expel some illegal aliens from the country. It’s been estimated Border Patrol will encounter about 13,000 illegal aliens at the border every day when Title 42 ends, according to Andrew R. Arthur, a resident fellow in law and policy at the Center for Immigration Studies. In March, Border Patrol apprehended about 5,200 illegal aliens a day, Arthur said.
Since President Joe Biden took office, there has been “nothing short of a stampede” at America’s southern border, former Vice President Mike Pence said during an interview with Fox News on Thursday.
“A storm is coming,” Pence said of the expiration of Title 42, “and 1,500 troops going to the southern border to do paperwork isn’t going to make a difference.”
DHS says the troops will be conducting and providing “ground-based detection and monitoring, data entry, and warehouse support.”
“This administration has got to stop, plant its feet, reverse course, and put back into place the policies that our administration used to reduce illegal immigration and asylum abuse by 90%,” Pence said.
In the final year of the Trump administration, CBP reports encountering fewer than 560,000 illegal aliens at the southern border. Under the Biden administration in fiscal year 2021, encounters rose to more than 1.7 million, and 2.3 million in fiscal 2022. Since the start of this fiscal year on Oct. 1, CBP reports encounters of more than 1.2 million illegal aliens.
With the end of Title 42 less than a week away, Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., is calling for the impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
In February, Biggs filed articles of impeachment against Mayorkas, saying in a press release that Mayorkas “is the chief architect of the migration and drug invasion at our southern border.”
But Republicans are not the only ones raising concerns over the Biden administration’s border policies ahead of Title 42’s expiration.
Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., said in a letter to Mayorkas on Thursday: “As Title 42 lifts next week, it will be more important than ever to have in place a cohesive and responsive government strategy to address a potential influx of migrants.”
Gallego added, “In recent conversations with border towns mayors and county officials in Arizona, I have heard repeated concerns about a lack of information around federal government policy that directly impacts Arizonans, our communities, and our local economies.”
Mayorkas, appearing on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” on Sunday to discuss the end of Title 42, told host Chuck Todd that the Biden administration is preparing “within the constraints of a broken immigration system.”
Mayorkas said Biden on “Day One delivered a solution. He delivered immigration reform legislation that we had hoped Congress would act on swiftly. They haven’t.”
While Mayorkas places blame at the feet of Congress, Republicans continue to argue the Biden administration has created the current crisis at the southern border.
“The Biden administration has not just allowed the cartels to expand, but they’ve actually encouraged them. They’ve aided and abetted them. They’ve moved people around for them,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, said during an interview with “Just the News” on Monday.
“The cartels are making billions every month, and that means they’re going to expand their network even more,” Paxton said, adding, “The borders [are] wide open for drugs, and so the cartels are not going to give that up easily. They’re going to want to continue this and grow it, and the Biden administration is doing everything in their power to help them do it.”
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