(USA Features) Following a federal court decision blocking the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” asylum policy in California and Arizona, the White House has ordered a “crisis response force” to the U.S.-Mexico border to prepare for a migrant influx.
On Friday, Customs and Border Protection announced that about 160 active duty soldiers would be deployed at two ports of entry along the border to assist federal immigration personnel. About 80 will be sent to El Paso and another 80 to California.
The deployment decision comes after a decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to block the Migrant Protection Protocols in the two states, which keep thousands of asylum seekers in Mexico, beginning March 12.
Senior CPB officials told reporters Friday that they had concerns the court’s decision will result in a large influx of migrants once more and that the agency would be understaffed and unable to deal with it. Also, they said the influx could contribute to the possible spread of the coronavirus through illegal entry.
“As demonstrated last Friday, following the 9th Circuit’s [Migrant Protection Protocol] ruling announcement, the balancing between facilitating the flow of legitimate trade and travel while upholding our national border security mission and the safety of the public and our personnel is delicate,” a senior CBP official said Friday.
“CBP ports of entry are not designed or equipped to handle extremely large groups of travelers arriving at the same time, and temporary closure of a [port of entry] is contemplated as an extreme option as necessary for public safety and border security,” the official continued.
The Trump administration has credited the MPP policy has a leading factor in reducing the migrant caravans that besieged border personnel throughout much of 2019. Officials also credit the program with protecting and saving the lives of migrants, who are preyed on by cartel smugglers.