Pentagon will send 1,500 active-duty troops to U.S. southwest border

May 3, 2023
U.S. southwest border fence

This support will free up DHS law enforcement personnel to perform their critical law enforcement missions.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on the approval of 1,500 active-duty troops being sent to the southwest border to help provide support leading up to “an anticipated increase in migration.”

What To Know: 1,500 active-duty troops will be sent to the U.S. southwest border as Title 42, a provision re: public health safety (which has allowed the government to quickly expel people attempting entry along the border since the COVID-19 pandemic) is about to end. The troops will be deployed for 90 days to serve in supporting roles – such as administrative duties, data entry, narcotics detection, and transportation assistance. In a press conference, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said the move to deploy troops to the border is not unprecedented: "… I would point out that DOD has supported DHS on the southwest border for 18 of the last 22 years and every year since 2006."

Some have criticized the move: Texas Governor Greg Abbott, for example, tweeted: "Biden says he will deploy 1,500 troops to the border — primarily to do paperwork. And only for 90 days. This does nothing to stop illegal immigration."

Why It Matters: Title 42 will end on May 11 and is expected to cause an increase of people attempting entry into the U.S. along the southwest border. Pentagon press secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said Tuesday, "I think we will see these troops arrive as early as May 10." The troops will accompany the 2,500 National Guard troops already deployed to the border.

DHS Statement on Request for Additional DoD Support on the Southwest Border (Department of Homeland Security)

U.S. sending 1,500 active-duty troops to southern border amid migration spike (CBS News)

Pentagon to send 1,500 active-duty troops to US-Mexico border to help with surge of migrants (USA Today)

For the most recent border numbers, check out our report here.

by Jenna Lee,