Despite encounters with illegal migrants continuing to rise, the Biden administration is going to withdraw military troops from the U.S. southern border with Mexico.
This week, the Department of Defense announced that it would be removing the 1,100 active duty troops who were stationed at the border to supplement the mission being carried out by the Department of Homeland Security. Those troops will be fully removed from the border by August 8, according to a representative for the DOD.
This is despite the fact that border patrols officers experienced a spike in encounters with illegal migrants at the border during the month of July.
Back in May, Lloyd Austin, the secretary of defense, sent 1,500 active duty troops to the southern border on what was a 90-day mission. That occurred right before the Biden administration was anticipating that a surge in migration would happen.
This was anticipated due to the dissolution of Title 42, an authority passed during the Trump administration that allowed DHS to expel illegal immigrants quickly as a way to stop the spread of COVID-19. When Title 42 expired, loads of migrants flooded to the border to try to get back in.
Initially, encounters with people trying to cross the border illegally dropped. According to data supplied by DHS, illegal immigrant apprehensions went from a total of 170,000 in the month of May to less than 100,000 the next month.
However, the stats went back up in July, with 130,000 total encounters occurring. This occurred once the U.S. opened up new entry programs for migrants such as CBP One.
That caused the DOD to decide to keep 400 of the active duty soldiers on their mission through the end of August, according to a DOD representative, who spoke with the Daily Caller News Foundation as long as they could remain anonymous.
As the source told the DCNF:
“On July 19, the secretary authorized up to 400 active-duty troops to remain at the [southwest border] in support of DHS [Customs and Border Protection] until August 31. It is my understanding that this authorization came as the result of a request from DHS/CBP for an extension.”
The mission for these troops was to perform work behind the scenes in various administrative duties, rather than handling any “law enforcement work.” The goal of having them at the border was to free up personnel with Customs and Border Protection so the agency could increase its own presence in the field.
As the DOD representative commented:
“The up to 400 troops that are being extended will be doing the same, non-law enforcement, support roles that were authorized under the original 90-day authorization.”
Yet, while those troops will remain, the other 1,100 have already started to return back to their base.
The Associated Press cited Dan Hokanson, the chief general of the National Guard, who said that the active duty personnel leaving the border is completely separate from the 2,300 troops of the National Guard who are stationed there as part of federal orders.