About 200 DHS volunteers deployed to border

Wednesday, May 22, 2019
By Paul Martin

DHS shifts personnel to assist with migrant surge

Geneva Sands, CNN
May 21, 2019

(CNN) – The Department of Homeland Security is shifting personnel from various agencies to the southern border to assist with the surge of migrants arriving from Central America, according to DHS officials.

The shift in resources includes the deployment of around 200 employees who have volunteered from throughout the department, according to administration officials.

Additional federal employees have volunteered and the department is now going through the process of figuring out how to get them to the border, said an administration official.

This is a small segment of the more than 240,000 person DHS workforce, and does not include the hundreds of Customs and Border Protection employees who have already been transferred from other positions to help on the US-Mexico border.

Volunteers include personnel from the Transportation Security Administration, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and US Secret Service. However, all DHS component agencies were asked to provide volunteers.

The ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Sen. Gary Peters, was critical of the moves, saying that “Congress must address the challenges at the Southern border without jeopardizing security at the Northern border or any of DHS’ other critical national security missions.”

“Transferring resources and personnel from other vital agencies like TSA or FEMA are short-sighted, temporary fixes that could have serious ripple effects across the country, such as longer wait times at airports during the busy summer travel season or reduced capacity for disaster response during hurricane season,” he said in a statement.

DHS has maintained that is is still capable of maintaining operations, despite the reshuffling of resources to address the situation at the border.

The call for volunteers and additional resources comes as the number of illegal border crossings is spiking, with apprehensions at a 10-year high. DHS officials have repeatedly said the department’s current resources are not equipped to deal with the increase of families and children arriving at the border.

In March, then-Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen sent a department-wide request for volunteers. “The situation at our Southern Border is dire,” Nielsen wrote at the time.

Less than two weeks later, Nielsen was ousted from her role and replaced by CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, who has continued to call for additional department resources.

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