The Department of Homeland Security admitted on Wednesday that there is now a desperate need for additional assistance to handle an influx of asylum seekers and, particularly, unaccompanied minors who are jumping the border in record numbers.
“Today, I activated the Volunteer Force to support Customs and Border Protection (CBP) as they face a surge in migration along the Southwest Border,” DHS secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in an email that was shown to Fox News.
“You have likely seen the news about the overwhelming numbers of migrants seeking access to this country along the Southwest Border,” he said. “President Biden and I are committed to ensuring our Nation has a safe, orderly, and humane immigration system while continuing to balance all of the other critical DHS missions.”
The DHS “Volunteer Force” consists of DHS workers, but not necessarily those in positions of law enforcement or immigration enforcement. According to Fox News, DHS staff who agree to work at the southern border will help out in a non-law enforcement capacity, handling administration and immediate needs for the overwhelming number of migrants presenting themselves at the United States-Mexico border.
“Volunteers will be used in a non-law enforcement capacity, with duties including managing property, preparing meals, doing supply runs, prescription medicine runs, housekeeping, and assisting in control rooms,” the outlet noted.
This is not the first time DHS has activated its volunteers. In the summer of 2019, DHS volunteers helped to handle a similar border crisis, as migrant caravans from Central America descended on Mexican border towns, with thousands of people seeking asylum in the United States. That influx prompted the Trump administration to crack down on asylum seekers and other illegal immigrants, ending the notorious “catch-and-release” program that allowed asylum seekers to remain in the United States until their claims could be adjudicated, and detaining hundreds.
“In 2019, over 900 volunteers deployed to support their CBP colleagues during a similar migration surge,” Mayorkas said in the email to DHS staff. “Please consider joining the Volunteer Force to again provide needed humanitarian support along the Southwest Border and relief for our CBP colleagues.”
As the Daily Wire noted earlier Thursday, the current border crisis may, in fact, be worse than the 2019 influx.
“On Wednesday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released operational statistics for February 2021, showing that CBP encountered 100,441 persons trying to enter the United States at the Southwest border, almost 30% higher than in January,” the Daily Wire noted, citing local Arizona news reports. “The number of migrants that U.S. border authorities encountered along the U.S.-Mexico border in February rose to levels not seen since a dramatic surge in migrant family arrivals in 2019 overwhelmed border facilities. Custom and Border Protection said that 25,000 of the migrants they encountered in February had already attempted to cross the border previously.”
“In Fiscal Year 2021 through February, 29,792 unaccompanied children and single minors have been encountered along the Southwest Border,” CBP added, per the report. “Two thousand nine hundred and forty-two of these children are under the age of 12 years old and 26,850 are aged 13-17 years old.
The Biden administration is believed to be holding dozens of families in detention facilities along the border and, according to the latest reports, the administration is also hosting more than 3,000 unaccompanied minors — so many that the administration is seeking to open shuttered juvenile detention facilities, including a controversial Health and Human Services building in Florida.
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