President Biden on Friday defended his decision to temporarily deploy 1,500 active-duty troops to the border, ahead of an expected migrant surge next week.
“I’ve asked this Congress for help in terms of what they need at the border,” Biden said on Friday in an interview with MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle. “They need more agents. They need more people to clear people. They need more action.”
The president explained that the troops would be sent to assist the border agents, not to enforce the law. Under federal law, active-duty troops are not allowed to directly enforce policies.
Biden said the troops will be “there to free up the border agents that need to be on the border.”
“And we’re having another thousand people coming in; they are asylum judges, to make judgments to move things along,” he added.
A U.S. official told The Hill on Tuesday that the troops would be deployed for 90 days to assist with work including ground-based detection and monitoring, data entry and warehouse support.
Biden’s decision to send the troops to the U.S.-Mexico border comes as Title 42 — a policy that allows for the rapid expulsion of migrants at the border and blocks them from seeking asylum — is set to expire on Thursday.
Critics have taken issue with the president’s decision to allow the policy to lapse without a set plan in motion.
Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) introduced a bipartisan bill on Thursday to extend Biden’s authority to expel asylum-seeking migrants without holding a hearing.
“Our legislation gives the administration time to actually implement a realistic, workable plan that will secure our border, protect Arizona communities on the frontlines of this crisis, and ensure migrants are treated fairly and humanely,” Sinema said in a statement.
Tillis placed the blame on Biden for not doing more to address the issue.
“The Biden administration has failed to secure the border and the situation will get even worse once Title 42 is allowed to expire,” he said. “Congress must immediately step in.”
Former Vice President Mike Pence blasted the Biden administration on Thursday, claiming the “stampede” of migrants on the border are a “direct result” of his immigration policies.
“A storm is coming, and 1,500 troops going to the southern border to do paperwork isn’t going to make a difference,” Pence said.
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