US: 4,200 migrants received shelter in El Paso 4:08
(CNN) -- The U.S. Department of Defense is sending 800 new active-duty personnel to the U.S.-Mexico border, in addition to the 2,500 National Guard members already in place, to provide support to federal authorities facing an increase in border crossings.
Department of Homeland Security officials made the announcement Wednesday night in a call with reporters as they addressed the recent spike in encounters with immigrants.
The U.S. military has long provided support to DHS at the border and a surge in personnel in the area is unprecedented. Troops have generally played a supportive, rather than law enforcement, role.
- Migrant Crossings Increase at U.S. Southern Border: More Than 8,000 Apprehensions Recorded
Migrants who crossed the Rio Grande into the United States are in the custody of National Guard members in Eagle Pass, Texas, on May 20, 2022. (Credit: Dario Lopez-Mills/AP)
DHS officials also said border authorities in Eagle Pass, Texas, processed the large influx of migrants Wednesday in an "orderly manner," but warned that the administration will "impose consequences" on as many people as possible who crossed.
Those consequences could include expedited deportations and other penalties available under the Title 8 process.
Officials did not give a clear explanation of what prompted this latest surge and said they are still investigating the specific reasons. But they continued to claim, as they have in recent years, that misinformation coming from smugglers, poor economies, authoritarian regimes and climate change are persistent forces that continue to drive migration.
CNN reported that about 3,000 migrants crossed into the United States and turned themselves in to authorities at Eagle Pass on Wednesday, the second time in a week that the area has seen a mass crossing.
Gov. Greg Abbott accused the administration of cutting barbed wire put up by state authorities along the Rio Grande and "opening the floodgates" to immigrants. Abbott said he has deployed more members of the Texas National Guard to install additional barbed wire.
- El Paso is on the "threshold of a third wave" of migrants and shelters are overwhelmed, official warns
DHS officials declined to comment on Abbott's post during the call with reporters.
Officials acknowledged they face increased migration at the border and are sending 800 new active-duty Department of Defense members in addition to the 2,500 National Guard members already in place, and increasing CBP's holding capacity for 3,250 people to a total of space for 23,000 people nationwide.
They said they have also referred 9,904 migrants for criminal prosecution to the Justice Department since Title 42 restrictions were lifted in May, in addition to expelling more than 253,000 people in the same period.
Migrant CrisisU.S.-Mexico Border