The Trump administration can send a volunteer emergency team to help with security and humanitarian efforts at the US-Mexico border, according to four current and former officials who informed about the discussions.
has been "tossing" for ways to devote additional resources to restrict migrants' flow, according to a DHS official who is familiar with the discussions.
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"My question is that they actually need more people on the border or are they just trying to make a state here?" Asked Craig Fugate, who was the FEMA administrator during the Obama administration.
A second DHS official also questioned the administration's motives for considering the power. It "makes a prominent sense for a hurricane," said this person, but not for the border. "All this is just to combat the administration's claim that there is an emergency," said the official.
To date, the Trump administration has deployed to the southern border hundreds of additional agents from its 19,443-strong border police force. It is also sent to 6000 active and national security forces. But despite the fact that border crossings are well below their peak levels during the 1990s and early 2000s, President Donald Trump estimates that efforts to combat illegal immigration are inadequate.
President's February declaration that illegal border crossings were a national emergency demanding that $ 6.7 billion not be approved by Congress suffered a blow Thursday when the Senate voted 59-41 to block the declaration. Twelve Republicans voted with Democrats against the President.
"I took this as," Hi, this is this new idea, "said the first DHS official about the voluntary force being treated." The lawyers are trying to find out if it is possible at all. "
The Homeland Security Department maintains a "Surge Capacity Force" designed to "increase the federal response to a catastrophic disaster," according to a web site describing its operations, consisting of volunteers, from DHS and other federal agencies deployed in response to hurricanes and
The idea of sending an emergency team to the border lies in an investigation phase according to the first DHS official, whether the administration would use its existing law or create a new entity is still unclear, the official said.
The number of arrests at the southwest the limit – a measured value used to determine illegal crossings – rose in February to its highest level since March 2009 Still far below r levels in the late 1980s, 1990s and 2000s.
The Trump administration aims to hire 26,370 Border Patrol agents as part of its law enforcement, but it remains almost 7,000 agents who lack the total to a government office report released earlier this month.
The existing surge capacity has been exploited by hurricanes and fires when the Federal Emergency Management Agency has been overwhelmed, but never before to assist with border security efforts. Established in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the team was first activated to respond to Hurricane Sandy in 2012. DHS made use of it again in 2017 to help with hurricane recovery efforts and fires in California, according to the program's website. Volunteers need approval from their federal supervisors and continue to receive wages during implementation. However, FEMA replaces travel expenses and overtime.
An administrative officer told POLITIKO that the existing surge force could not be used for a border security mission because it uses emergency tools. In addition, the program uses staff trained in FEMA procedures, which would be less applicable in the context of border security.
"I think what they were trying to do is build a team of people from across the ward who have skills in that arena," said the official. "It would have to be different people and designed for another purpose."
DHS did not respond to several requests for comments.
Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, said he had not heard of a volunteer effort. But he said volunteers would be more likely to do logistics work and that immigrants and customs officials were unlikely to be able to use the border.
"They should not give us ICE agents to start applying border laws, as they are already stretched thin as it is," he said.