DHS Seeks Volunteers to Assist With ‘Overwhelming’ Surge at Southern Border

March 9, 2021 Updated: March 10, 2021

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is seeking volunteers from among its agencies to assist in dealing with an “overwhelming” migrant surge at the U.S.-Mexico border, as the Biden administration continues to deny that there’s a crisis.

“Today, I activated the Volunteer Force to support Customs and Border Protection (CBP) as they face a surge in migration along the Southwest Border,” DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in an email to employees on March 8, obtained by several news outlets.

“You have likely seen the news about the overwhelming numbers of migrants seeking access to this country along the Southwest Border,” Mayorkas said.

“President Biden and I are committed to ensuring our Nation has a safe, orderly, and humane immigration system while continuing to balance all of the other critical DHS missions.”

DHS volunteers, in a non-law enforcement capacity, will work to carry out tasks such as assisting in control rooms, doing housekeeping, preparing meals, doing supply and prescription medicine runs, and managing property, Fox News reported.

Mayorkas said in his email that in 2019, under the Trump administration, more than 900 volunteers had been deployed to support their CBP colleagues “during a similar migration surge.”

“Please consider joining the Volunteer Force to again provide needed humanitarian support along the Southwest Border and relief for our CBP colleagues,” Mayorkas wrote.

“I also realize these are uncertain times and being away from home may be concerning. But today your colleagues need assistance carrying out their mission to help others, and DHS is going to support you while deployed,” he said. “Your health and wellbeing will remain priorities.”

Migrants
Alien migrants climb the banks of the Rio Grande River into the United States as smugglers on rafts prepare to return to Mexico in Penitas, Texas, on March 5, 2021. (Adrees Latif/Reuters)

Illegal Crossings Spike

The number of illegal crossings at the southern border has steadily risen since October 2020. The number of encounters at the southwest border between October 2020 and January was 296,259, an increase from 164,932 in the year-earlier period, according to data from the CBP, representing a 79.6 percent increase.

Since taking office on Jan. 20, President Joe Biden has signed a flurry of executive orders that dismantled the Trump administration’s border security measures.

On his first day in office, Biden signed executive orders and issued memos to temporarily suspend deportations of illegal aliens, reverse former President Donald Trump’s ban on travel from terror-prone countries, halt border wall construction, stop adding people to the Trump-era 2019 “Remain in Mexico” program, preserve and fortify the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and release a sweeping immigration package to Congress that includes amnesty for millions of asylum seekers and illegal immigrants.

The attorneys general of Arizona and Texas have sued Biden over a memo from the administration that ordered a freeze on the majority of deportations for 100 days. A federal judge temporarily blocked the order on Jan. 26.

President Biden
President Joe Biden speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on March 5, 2021. (Al Drago-Pool/Getty Images)

The Biden administration’s proposal to legalize about 11 million illegal aliens living in the United States—something he vowed during his campaign—was formally introduced by Democrats in Congress last month.

Situation ‘Unstable’

After visiting the CBP facility in Edinburg, Texas, at the southern border over the weekend, Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) described the situation as “unstable.” He noted that the areas he toured have been seeing a huge spike in migrants, with more than 6,000 apprehended at just one station.

On March 6, Texas began an operation to counter the growing crisis, activating and deploying National Guard troops and other law enforcement officers to the border to combat drug and human smuggling.

Biden hasn’t yet acknowledged the crisis or announced any concrete plans to address the growing numbers of illegal crossings. When asked by a reporter this week whether there’s a crisis at the border, Biden replied, “No, we’ll be able to handle it.”

The White House and the DHS didn’t immediately respond to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.

Janita Kan and Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.