The Pentagon is ordering 160 troops to California and Texas as part of an effort to secure the southern border, Politico reported Friday.
The troops, who are all military police and engineers from the 519th Military Police Battalion and the 687th Engineer Construction Company, are being deployed from Fort Polk, Louisiana.
The deployment comes amid an ongoing court battle over the Trump administration’s controversial “Remain in Mexico” policy, which is at risk of being axed in at least two states, according to the Associated Press.
A court ruling blocking the policy in Arizona and California starting late this week has prompted fears that migrants seeking asylum, who once were required to remain in Mexico as they await immigration hearings, will rush the border upon the measure’s reversal.
Rushing the border?
In late February, the Ciudad Juarez–El Paso border bridge had to be temporarily closed when migrants attempted to storm it, according to U.S. News & World Report. The crowd came after a decision from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which later went on to block President Donald Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy altogether, though NPR noted that the final “court ban applies only to areas in [the 9th Circuit’s] jurisdiction, Arizona and California.”
“The decision comes less than a week after the appeals court briefly blocked the program [nationwide], then quickly suspended that order,” NPR added in its report.
The troops sent in response will join the more than 5,000 active-duty soldiers and National Guard members who are already assisting federal law enforcement along the border, according to The New York Times.
“Approximately 80 personnel will be deployed to PoE in El Paso, Texas, and approximately 80 personnel will be supporting the San Ysidro Port of Entry in California,” a senior official at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency (CBP) said, according to Breitbart.
Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan recently touted the Trump administration’s ongoing success at securing the border, tweeting last week:
For the last 5 months, we are removing and returning more illegal migrants than those apprehended! We are also more effective and efficient at doing so, applying a consequence or pathway to 95% of those we apprehend. This is a game changer. pic.twitter.com/2QTXxk82cj
— Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan (@CBPMarkMorgan) March 5, 2020
And in September, Politico acknowledged that the Trump administration has achieved progress when it comes to illegal immigration, reporting:
Border arrests, a metric for illegal crossings, plummeted to 51,000 in August, according to preliminary government figures obtained by Politico Wednesday, down more than 60[%] since a peak in May.
The Politico report noted that the Mexican government is “now cracking down on migrants traversing Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala, monitoring river crossings, and stopping buses carrying migrants from Central America through Mexico,” adding: “At the same time, the U.S. is making tens of thousands of asylum seekers wait in Mexico while their applications are considered.”
Unless the Supreme Court intervenes, however, it looks like that policy will soon no longer be in place — at least not everywhere.