President Donald Trump deployed additional troops to two cities on the U.S./Mexico border after a liberal federal court struck down administration policies asking asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while their claims are processed.
Eighty active-duty soldiers were deployed to San Diego to assist U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officials at the San Ysidro border crossing. Another 80 active-duty soldiers were deployed to El Paso to assist officials at the Paso del Norte bridge spanning the Rio Grande.
A federal district court struck down the Trump administration’s “remain in Mexico” rule, determining that federal asylum laws allow migrants to remain in the United States while their asylum claims are processed. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit upheld that ruling but limited it to only California and Arizona.
The White House has appealed the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Department of Homeland Security reports 60,000 asylum seekers have been blocked from entering the United States. If the court’s ruling is upheld they could enter the U.S.
In response to the ruling, a large number of asylum seekers gathered in Mexico near the El Paso border crossing, anticipating they will be allowed to enter.
“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,” Customs and Border Patrol said in a written statement.
“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 statement read.