The Department of Homeland Security has requested help from the Pentagon for help guarding the southern border as attempted border crossings remain high, a senior US general revealed Thursday.
During an appearance before the Senate Armed Service Committee, Gen. Glen Vanherck, head of North American Aerospace Defense Command, was pressed on whether the administration of DHS had requested additional troops for the southern border.
“Sen. Inhofe, there is a request from the Department of Homeland Security,” Vanherck told ranking member Jim Inhofe (R-Ok.).
“It is in the planning stages right now of the department to provide additional capability or capacity based on the potential for additional immigration, or folks coming to the southwest border.”
The general did not provide additional information.
DHS did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.
News of the request comes just months after two DHS officials told Reuters that the border could see a massive spike in daily border arrests this spring, potentially reaching 9,000 arrests per day. Last summer – when the border saw its peak of attempted crossings – the daily average was around 6,500.
One of the officials described the number as a “worst-case scenario.”
In February, a report revealed that Customs and Border Protection officials are expecting up to 13,000 unaccompanied children to cross the border in May alone.
To help with the response, CBP is sending additional agents to the Mexican border to help address the spike in apprehensions, the agency revealed earlier this month.
“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.
However, that was not enough as days later, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas requested assistance from volunteers from agencies within the department to combat the expected surge.
“Today, I activated the Volunteer Force to support Customs and Border Protection (CBP) as they face a surge in migration along the Southwest Border,” Mayorkas wrote in an email sent to DHS staff obtained by Fox News.
“You have likely seen the news about the overwhelming numbers of migrants seeking access to this country along the Southwest Border. 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,” he continued.
The secretary said that those who joined the volunteer force would be used in a non-law enforcement capacity, such as managing property, preparing meals, doing supply runs, prescription medicine runs, housekeeping and assisting in control rooms.
Additionally, Department officials are worried that a massive influx could occur when the administration lifts Title 42, which allows for border officials to expel migrants without hearing asylum claims due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Officials are bracing for a possible influx of up to 170,000 people.
While the number of attempted border crossings has drastically reduced from its peak in July, crossings spiked again in February with border officials reporting nearly 165,000 in February, an increase of 6.6 percent over January.
Border crossings are likely to stay high in March as the US is anticipating hundreds of Ukrainian refugees to cross the border from Mexico amid the month-long Russian invasion. This week, the administration revealed it will be welcoming up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees.
Ukrainian refugees will not face a lot of difficulties at the border as Mayorkas announced last week that they are exempt from Title 42.
“We address an individual’s claim for humanitarian relief as they are presented to us,” Mayorkas said. “We have a number of efforts already underway … to provide humanitarian relief for individuals fleeing a war-torn Ukraine. We are looking at other programs that we can implement to expand the avenues of humanitarian relief.”