US Customs and Border Protection is sending additional agents to the Mexican border in response to a mounting migration crisis.
The agency, which includes the Border Patrol, said in a Monday statement that the agents will be arriving to help address a spike in apprehensions, including of unaccompanied children.
“Due to fluctuations along the Southwest Border, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is deploying additional Border Patrol agents to the Rio Grande Valley Sector area of operation,” the agency said in a statement.
Hundreds of agents may be redeployed from assignments along the US coasts and the northern border with Canada, the New York Times reported.
The Biden administration is dealing with a significant uptick in border apprehensions, with Republicans accusing President Biden of sparking the surge by relaxing some of former President Donald Trump’s policies.
In January, which featured the final weeks of Trump’s term and the start of Biden’s, CBP detained nearly 78,000 people, up from 36,679 in January 2020.
About 2,200 unaccompanied children crossed the border each week in February.
The Biden administration recently opened two overflow detention facilities for minors who arrive at the border without parents.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Monday denied there was a “crisis” on the border, saying it was instead a “stressful challenge.”
“The men and women of the Department of Homeland Security are working around the clock, seven days a week to ensure that we do not have a crisis at the border, that we manage the challenge as acute as the challenge is,” he said when pressed by reporters at a White House briefing.
In his first month, Biden ended construction of Trump’s signature US-Mexico border wall and began to end the “Remain in Mexico” policy under which about 71,000 Central American asylum applicants were awaiting rulings in Mexico. He issued an order affirming the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which gives work permits and protection from deportation to people brought illegally to the US as minors, and proposed legislation that would create a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the US.