The Obama administration has sent a team of military and national security officials to the Texas-Mexico border to assess whether there is a need for National Guard troops to help deal with the influx of unaccompanied foreign children, senior White House officials said.
A team of experts from the Defense Department and the Department of Homeland Security will conduct their study in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas to determine whether the military can "temporarily assist" U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the officials said.
Republicans have called on the administration to dispatch the National Guard as the Border Patrol deals with the more than 57,000 unaccompanied children and an additional 55,000 adults with children who have been apprehended on the south Texas border since last October. But the White House has reacted skeptically, saying such a move is unnecessary because the children and families are surrendering to border patrol stations in hopes of being able to remain in the United States legally.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) announced this week he will send 1,000 of his state's National Guard troops to the border over the coming month to help local law enforcement agents mount operations targeting Mexican drug cartel activity in Texas. House Republicans, meanwhile, released a set of policy principles on Wednesday that call for the administration to dispatch National Guard troops.
"The assessment team will review support options that increase U.S. Customs and Border Protection capacity to conduct enforcement and processing activities and to enable DHS to implement a surge plan that addresses spikes in the influx of UACs [unaccompanied alien children]/migrants along the Southwest Border," a senior administration official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record about the plans.
Reuters first reported on the administration's plans.