U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) requested additional officers to deploy to the southern border Thursday amid a continued surge in border crossings, The Washington Post reported Friday.
“This situation mandates immediate action to protect the life and safety of federal personnel and the aliens in custody,” Michael W. Meade, ICE’s acting assistant director for Field Operations wrote to the law enforcement agency’s senior staff in an email obtained by the Post.
“Start and end dates are TBD, but could begin as soon as this weekend at locations along the SWB, most likely Texas … it is anticipated that the enforcement actions will continue to grow over the coming months.”
In February, the number of illegal immigrants that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) encountered at the border exceeded 100,000 according to the acting commissioner of CBP.
Meade stressed the need for additional officers particularly in order to help guard families and unaccompanied minors crossing into the United States as the number of minors held in the already over-capacity detention facilities eclipsed 3,500 this past week. Despite previous restrictions that had been put in place due to COVID-19, the CDC last week allowed for facilities to operate at full capacity.
Minors are being held for extended periods of time in short-term detention cells made for adults before either being transferred into shelters or released to vetted sponsors, according to The Washington Post. The average waiting time for minors reached 108 hours this week, well above the established legal limit of 72 hours in immigration custody, according to the Post. (RELATED: ‘How Can You Say That’s Not A Crisis?’: CNN’s Kaitlan Collins Presses Jen Psaki On Situation At The Border)
Several Texas Democratic representatives from border districts have criticized the Biden administration’s immigration policies amid the surge in crossings.
“I can assure you, it won’t be long before we have tens of thousands of people showing up to our border, and it’ll be catastrophic for our country, for my region, for my district,” Rep. Vicente Gonzalez said in a recent interview with CNN.
In addition to this latest request by ICE, earlier this week, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) secretary Alejandro Mayorkas asked DHS staff for volunteers to assist in controlling the “overwhelming number of migrants seeking access to this country along the Southwest Border.”