The Pentagon is withdrawing 1,100 active-duty troops from the U.S.-Mexico border previously deployed to manage an expected increase in illegal border crossings due to the anticipated end of pandemic-related asylum restrictions. Instead, the number of crossings has fallen, leading to the decision to end the 90-day military presence surge earlier than planned.
- The Defense Secretary had initially approved the deployment of 1,500 troops for 90 days starting in May, but with border crossings declining, 1,100 troops are scheduled to leave by August 8.
- The remaining 400 troops’ stay will be extended until August 31, focusing on tasks such as data entry and warehouse support to free up Customs and Border Protection personnel.
- Border encounters sharply dropped from 10,000 per day to about 5,000 a day after the expiration of Title 42, a rule that allowed the quick expulsion of migrants under the guise of protecting America from COVID-19.
- This decision comes amid legal challenges to the Biden administration’s immigration policies and procedures, and a federal lawsuit against Texas for deploying floating buoys in the Rio Grande.
- An additional 2,300 National Guard troops remain at the border in supportive roles, but the Pentagon aims for the Department of Homeland Security to fully assume border protection responsibilities, with plans to increase personnel and technology investments.