The Biden administration will send an additional 1,500 active-duty U.S. military personnel to the southern border as a pandemic-era immigration policy is set to expire next week. 

The temporary increase in troops, which will bring the total number of service members assigned to the border to 4,000, was requested by the Department of Homeland Security to support Customs and Border Protection officers with monitoring efforts, narcotics detection, transportation, data entry and warehouse needs, according to The Washington Post

Soldiers will not perform arrests of migrants, according to The Wall Street Journal, because military personnel are restricted from engaging in law enforcement on American soil.  

The deployment is expected to last 90 days, beginning as early as May 10, and will draw from several active-duty Army units, according to Fox News

While not unprecedented, the move from the Biden White House to send troops to the U.S.-Mexico border comes as government officials are expecting illegal crossings to increase to over 10,000 per day, The Washington Post reports, coinciding with the end of Title 42, a public-health order that enabled border patrol officers to forego asylum application procedures and quickly expel migrants. 

First put in place under former President Donald Trump, the order has been used extensively by border patrol officers to counter record surges in border crossings. Its termination would return border enforcement to the pre-pandemic norm and would allow asylum seekers to ask for American protection without being immediately turned back to Mexico, according to The Wall Street Journal

President Joe Biden walks along a stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border in El Paso, Texas, Jan. 8, 2023.
President Joe Biden walks along a stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border in El Paso, Texas, Jan. 8, 2023. The Biden administration has requested 1,500 troops for the U.S.-Mexico border amid an expected migrant surge following the end of pandemic-era restrictions. | Andrew Harnik, Associated Press

Smugglers have been telling migrants that the end of Title 42 will increase their odds of staying in the country — and signs of an impending surge are already starting to show in communities on both sides of the border. 

Title 42 is scheduled to end the night of May 11, following a series of court injunctions that previously prevented the administration from lifting the order. These federal court rulings came in response to lawsuits brought by states who argued that a migrant surge would overwhelm their law enforcement resources and budgets. 

Biden’s decision to announce additional military support at the border may signal anxiety about political backlash that will likely come after a surge in illegal crossings, according to The New York Times

Republicans have frequently emphasized the president’s poor handling of the border crisis in their campaigns and the administration has recently announced multiple policy plans to mitigate any surges that will accompany the end of Title 42, the Times reports. These policies include programs that incentivize migrants to enter the country through particular legal channels and promise quick expulsion to those who enter the country illegally, per The Wall Street Journal

But the Biden White House insists that the responsibility to craft an effective U.S. immigration system falls to Congress and that their inaction is to blame for the current predicament.

Last week, House Republicans introduced a bill that would reinstate Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy, forcing migrants to await their asylum court hearings on the Mexican side of the border, and would disqualify many migrants from seeking asylum. The bill will likely go up for a vote on May 11, the same day Title 42 ends.