U.S. to send 1,500 troops to Mexico border

STORY: With experts anticipating a huge surge in migrants this month coming to the U.S., President Joe Biden's administration said Tuesday it will temporarily send 1,500 troops to help secure the U.S.-Mexico border.

Pentagon spokesman, Pat Ryder:

“For 90 days, these 1500 military personnel who will be sourced from the active duty component will fill critical capability gaps such as ground-based detection and monitoring, data entry, and warehouse support until CPB can address these needs through contracted support. Military personnel will not directly participate in law enforcement activities."

The increase in border resources – adding to the 2,500 National Guard troops already there - comes as Trump-era COVID-19 restrictions known as Title 42 are set to end on May 11.

The policy had allowed U.S. authorities to rapidly expel non-Mexican migrants to Mexico without the chance to seek asylum.

Biden, who is running for reelection, already has grappled with record numbers of migrants caught illegally crossing the border during his tenure… and has taken criticism from all sides.

Republicans have blasted Biden for rolling back Trump’s hardline policies. While Democrats and immigration activists have lashed out over what they see as Biden’s toughening approach to border security.

“The concern, which U.S. officials have expressed is that they could see upwards of 10,000 border crossings daily once the restrictions end on May 11.”

Still, Reuters National Security Correspondent Idrees Ali says the border deployment comes with some reservations within the Pentagon.

"Under President Donald Trump, there was a real push to move thousands of active duty troops to the border for what at times look like very mundane tasks. (flash) Questions have been raised how this is different, how the current deployment of 1,500 active duty troops is going to be different. Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder said it won't affect readiness, but what we're being told by sources is that for a long time there's been concern at the Pentagon that the longer these type of missions go on, the more likely they are to impact readiness, the more likely they are to turn troops attention away from the task at hand, which is, you know, countering China, looking at the war in Ukraine and how they can support those efforts.”

U.S. military troops have been used to help secure the border during previous administrations, including under President Bush and Obama.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Tuesday went so far as to call such deployments "a common practice."

But some in the president’s own party were not on board…

Senator Bob Menendez, a Democrat and chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Biden's decision to send troops to the border was unacceptable and accused the president of trying to score political points.