Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has extended the United States’ military’s mission at the US-Mexico border, authorizing the deployment of at least 3,000 troops for fiscal year 2022 despite President Joe Biden rescinding the national emergency order, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby announced on Tuesday.
Approximately six months after President Biden canceled the national emergency order at the southern border, the National Guard still has thousands of troops deployed to assist Customs and Border Patrol.
The year 2022 will mark the mission’s fourth year, which at its peak saw nearly 5,500 troops deployed to the US-Mexico border.
According to a Government Accountability Office report, the Department of Defense has allocated at least $841 million for operations on the Mexican border.
Austin’s decision comes as a number of states are already independently sending National Guard troops to Texas in support of Operation Lone Star, a mission established by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to stem the flow of human and drug trafficking into the United States.
“President Biden’s open-border policies have paved the way for dangerous gangs and cartels, human traffickers, and deadly drugs like fentanyl to pour into our communities,” Abbott said in a statement in June.
Last week, it was revealed that a billionaire “private donor” who referred to himself as a “hardcore Republican” is funding the deployment of up to 50 South Dakota National Guard troops to the southern border in Texas in response to Gov. Greg Abbott’s request for assistance.
“The Biden Administration has failed in the most basic duty of the federal government: keeping the American people safe,” South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said. “The border is a national security crisis that requires the kind of sustained response only the National Guard can provide. We should not be making our own communities less safe by sending our police or Highway Patrol to fix a long-term problem President Biden’s Administration seems unable or unwilling to solve.”
“My message to Texas is this: help is on the way,” she concluded.
Arkansas has also authorized 40, and Iowa 24, National Guard troops to deploy to the border for up to 90 days.
According to Bloomberg News, the Biden administration is also reallocating $860 million in funding for COVID-19 relief to cover pandemic costs relating to illegal immigrant children.
In a letter reviewed by the news outlet, Health Secretary Xavier Becerra told members of Congress that his department would move funding to ensure illegal immigrant children’s safety, in addition to the staff taking care of them at shelters.