The Department of Homeland Security is asking staff to volunteer to help manage the "overwhelming" number of migrants causing a crisis at the U.S. border, according to a new report.
Fox News reported Tuesday that Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas sent an email to DHS staff requesting volunteers to help with "managing property, preparing meals, doing supply runs, prescription medicine runs, housekeeping, and assisting in control rooms.
"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 reportedly said.
"You have likely seen the news about the overwhelming numbers of migrants seeking access to this country along the Southwest Border," he continued. "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."
This volunteer force, which was previously activated in 2019 during the border crisis in the spring and summer, will act in a non-law enforcement capacity to provide humanitarian relief.
"In 2019, over 900 volunteers deployed to support their CBP colleagues during a similar migration surge," Mayorkas said. "Please consider joining the Volunteer Force to again provide needed humanitarian support along the Southwest Border and relief for our CBP colleagues."
Thousands of migrant children are overwhelming detention facilities at the U.S. border even as the Biden administration refuses to acknowledge there is a crisis on its hands.
According to the New York Times, the number of migrant children detained at the border has tripled in the past two weeks, swelling to more than 3,250. Federal law requires that children detained by Customs and Border Protection be turned over to shelters managed by the Department of Health and Human Services, but COVID-19 safety protocols have limited the space available to house these children. Last week, the CDC had to issue guidelines permitting the administration to operate shelters at 100% capacity to fit all these kids, acknowledging these facilities "should plan for and expect to have COVID-19 cases."
But it's not just children. Border agents encountered a migrant at the border about 78,000 times in January, double the number of encounters from the same time one year ago and the highest rate of any January in a decade.
"Immigration authorities are expected to announce this week that there were close to 100,000 apprehensions, including encounters at port entries, in February," the Times reports. "An additional 19,000 migrants, including adults and children, have been caught by border agents since March 1."
The current border surge is drawing comparisons to the 2019 crisis when there were as many as 140,000 border apprehensions in a month at its height.
There are several "push" and "pull" factors that are driving migrants to attempt to come to the U.S.
Natural disasters in Central America, poverty, hunger, and gang violence are among the push factors motivating people in South and Central America to flee their homeland for the United States. Hurricanes have left thousands of people homeless in Honduras. There is famine in Latin America caused by the storms destroying crop yields and exacerbated by the pandemic. And gang violence and widespread government corruption are convincing many, many people to leave in search of a better life in America.
Then there are the pull factors. The Biden administration has reversed several of President Donald Trump's policies: Ending Migrant Protection Protocols, the "Remain in Mexico" policy which had migrants wait for their hearings outside the U.S.; halting construction of the border wall; and reinstating "catch and release;" and imposing a moratorium on deportations for most classes of illegal immigrants. Also, Immigration and Customs Enforcement under the new administration has developed a policy that will permit noncitizens to contest their deportation.
The softer tone Biden has set on immigration — and his promise to support legislation granting amnesty and citizenship to 11 million illegal immigrants — are encouraging people to travel to the U.S. in the hopes of finding a warm welcome from the United States government.
Biden's "humanitarian" immigration policy has consequences. In addition to migrant housing facilities now being overwhelmed, violence and criminal activity is rising on the border as drug cartels, smugglers, human traffickers, and gangs are taking advantage of the situation.