The Pentagon announced on Thursday that it will send a crisis force of 160 troops to two points on the U.S.–Mexico border as the Supreme Court prepares to decide whether to hear a case that could decide the fate of the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy.
The “Remain in Mexico” policy requires asylum seekers to reside in Mexico as they wait to receive an asylum hearing in the U.S. On February 28, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a lower-court decision blocking the policy. A stay of the 9th Circuit’s ruling was issued hours later to give the Supreme Court time to decide whether to hear the case, and the Court is expected to announce its decision on Wednesday.
If the Court declines to hear the case, effectively allowing the 9th Circuit’s injunction against the policy to remain in effect, the Pentagon fears that large crowds of migrants will attempt to cross the border. In anticipation of that possibility, it will deploy troops to San Ysidro, Calif., and El Paso, Texas, to support and protect Customs and Border Patrol personnel already stationed at the border. Meanwhile, Texas governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, has ordered troops from the Texas National Guard to deploy for “quick reaction force training” to support CBP.
The “Remain in Mexico” policy and the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border have been touted by the Trump administration as part of its efforts to curb illegal immigration, one of the president’s signature issues. There are currently about 60,000 asylum seekers waiting in Mexico for U.S. court hearings as a result of the policy.