DHS Recruits Volunteers to Secure Southern Border as It Awaits Another Massive Migrant Influx
03:01 GMT 18.03.2022 (Updated: 03:03 GMT 18.03.2022)
Since the new administration came into office in January, the US has faced a strong migration influx amid President Biden's eased border policies. At the end of this fiscal year, the number of border arrests exceeded the record year of 1986, with the total figure standing at 1.7 million.
The Department of Homeland Security has called on its workers to volunteer at the southern border, as officials await another massive influx of migrants, Fox News reported
According to a letter by Deputy Secretary John Tien, “Customs and Border Protection continues to encounter large numbers of individuals at the Southwest Border.”
“Once again, we need to tap into our Department’s greatest resource: the skills of our talented and diverse workforce. Today, I am asking you to consider stepping forward to support the DHS Volunteer Force,” the email says. “We are seeking your help to support our CBP frontline workforce.”
The document says that DHS would need volunteers in two areas -- general support and data entry (with Spanish language skills).
As Axios reported earlier, citing sources, authorities would see over 170,000 immigrants in the spring and summer months if Biden decides to stop extraditions under Title 42, a Trump-era law that empowers the authorities to extradite illegal immigrants due to pandemic concerns.
According to Axios
, part of the preparations for the immigration wave was said to be taking part at a new Southwest Border Coordination Center, established by DHS as its headquarters to coordinate across multiple agencies. It was described as a “war room” to coordinate the response to the brewing crisis that officials are fearing could be a “mass migration event.”
Meanwhile, the Biden administration is currently fighting in court to halt the Trump-era immigration regulation known as the “Remain in Mexico” border asylum policy. Earlier this week, the government asked the US Supreme Court to overturn a Fifth Circuit decision that prohibited ending the program, which obliges immigrants to wait in Mexico while their applications are processed in the US.
At the same time, the current administration has continued its efforts to stop the enforcement of Title 42, which it has also challenged in court. A decision by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit however ruled that the law would continue to be enforced, but prohibited the expulsion of immigrants to countries where they may face persecution or torture.
US Border Patrol agents meanwhile reported 164,973 encounters with migrants stopped for illegally crossing the southern border in February, which is a 63 percent increase compared to the same period last year.
Last year, federal agencies had to mobilize additional personnel
amid record-breaking numbers of immigrants, especially unaccompanied children. Over the summer months of 2021, the influx has soared, compared with the same period the previous year, increasing by approximately 80 percent, to 212,000 last July. The total number of migrant encounters over the 2021 fiscal year was the highest since 2000, with all detention centers for adults and children being critically overcrowded and border agencies facing severe understaffing.
A volunteer force was also used to process Afghan immigrants after August 2021 and during a previous immigration surge in 2019, with over 14,000 employers volunteering for resettlement operations.