WASHINGTON — The Trump administration will deploy 160 troops to two ports of entry along the southwestern border before a Supreme Court decision that officials fear could prompt large crowds of migrants to seek entry into the United States.
Under authority that President Trump granted in 2018, Customs and Border Protection will send two teams of 80 military police, engineers, and aviation units to San Ysidro, Calif., and El Paso, Texas, as the Supreme Court considers the legality of an administration policy that forces asylum-seekers to remain in Mexico as their cases are adjudicated.
Senior officials at the agency said Friday that the move was a response to migrants who crowded the entry points last Friday when an appeals court in California said the policy was illegal and ruled asylum-seekers must be allowed into the United States.
The decision by the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to block the Migrant Protection Protocols was stayed within hours to allow the government time to appeal the ruling. The appeals court Wednesday granted the Trump administration’s request to keep the restrictions, more commonly known as “Remain in Mexico,” in effect until Wednesday, when the Supreme Court decides whether to hear the case.
If the Supreme Court declines to hear the government’s appeal of the Ninth Circuit’s injunction, the appeals court’s decision to block the policy will take effect Thursday, although only in the border states within its jurisdiction, California and Arizona. Even though such a decision would not affect Texas, officials said the military was needed there in case migrants rushed the entry point.
More than 5,000 active-duty troops and members of the National Guard are already stationed at the border to secure ports of entry, hold training sessions, provide support at holding facilities and help with border wall construction.