Responding to a court decision restricting border enforcement policies, the Trump administration is deploying 160 active troops to the U.S.-Mexico border.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection is sending 80 troops each to San Diego's San Ysidro and El Paso's Paso del Norte bridge to give "military police support, engineer, and aviation support," the Arizona Republic reported.
The move is a result of Feb. 28 court ruling from California's 9th Circuit Court of Appeals which blocked the U.S. from sending asylum seekers to Mexico while they await rulings, called the "Remain in Mexico" policy.
The ruling led to a potential flood to the border, which the CBP sought to curtail.
"CBP Ports of Entry (POEs) are not designed or equipped to handle extremely large groups of travelers arriving all at the same time and temporary closure of a POE is contemplated as an extreme option, as necessary for public safety and border security," CBP wrote in a statement, per the report.
"Compounded in response to Friday's [Feb. 28] amassment of large groups in Mexico with the potential to forcibly enter the United States, CBP closed or partially suspended operations at multiple locations in order to maintain safety and security."
The deployment is planned to last two weeks, but the CBP has the option to extend it or even shift it to other border crossings, an official told the paper.
"While it is no surprise, it is nonetheless deeply disappointing that the Trump administration would use the coronavirus as an excuse to sow fear about asylum seekers in an effort to continue to violate the law," Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, told the paper.
"It is because we are all concerned about the coronavirus that we need to focus our resources on our real challenges, like the limited number of tests available, something that troops on the border won't address."
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