White House insists that US troops sent to southern border will not ‘be engaging’ with migrants

The White House on Wednesday said that the active duty troops who are being sent to the southern border ahead of the end of Title 42 next week will not be engaging migrants, but will be acting in an administrative role supporting Customs and Border Protection. Officials said this week that approximately 1,500 active-duty troops will come from a variety of Army units and will serve for 90 days in mostly administrative and transport roles in order to free up law enforcement and Border Patrol.  It comes in preparation for the end of the Title 42 public health order on May 11. The ending of the order, which allows for the rapid expulsion of migrants at the border, is expected to be followed by a rush of migration to the border. BIDEN ADMINISTRATION APPROVES SENDING 1,500 TROOPS TO MEXICO BORDER AS TITLE 42 DEADLINE LOOMS: SOURCES The move had brought opposition from some immigration doves, including Sen. Bob Menendez, D-NJ, who called it “unacceptable.” “There is already a humanitarian crisis in the Western Hemisphere, and deploying military personnel only signals that migrants are a threat that require our nation’s troops to contain. Nothing could be further from the truth,” he said in a statement on Tuesday. On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre emphasized that troops will be performing administrative tasks like data entry. “It will allow CBP to actually be able to perform their duties, which is critical to their law enforcement duties, if you will,” she said. “They will not be engaging with the migrants, I just want to be clear about that.” The troop movement is one of a number of moves the administration is taking ahead of the end of the order. On Tuesday, the U.S. and Mexico announced a number of measures — including the acceptance of non-Mexican migrants by Mexico.  BIDEN ADMIN SECURES DEAL WITH MEXICO TO DEPORT SOME NON-MEXICAN MIGRANTS AHEAD OF TITLE 42 BEDLAM  Last week the administration announced that it is stiffening penalties for illegal entry, like using tools like expedited removal, which can carry five-year re-entry bans and criminal prosecutions. It has also proposed a rule to bar migrants from claiming asylum if they cross illegally and have not claimed asylum in another country through which they have already passed. BIDEN ADMIN TO SET UP MIGRANT PROCESSING CENTERS IN LATIN AMERICA AS TITLE 42 SET TO EXPIRE At the same time, it is also broadening access to legal refugee, parole, and employment pathways, with officials recently announcing the establishment of migrant processing centers across Latin America.  “We’ve been preparing for what is to come when Title 42 is lifted, and we have put programs in place and we will have more to share, whether it’s processing centers, whether it’s troops, whether it’s the parolee program,” Jean-Pierre said. “The president is using, this administration is using the tools that they have available to them to [take] the next steps after Title 42 lifts.” Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin, Liz Friden and Chris Pandolfo contributed to this report.
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