U.S. Customs and Border Patrol announced Tuesday the creation of a new administrative position intended to help ease the stresses on the system created by the recent influx of asylum-seekers arriving at the southern border.
The new “Border Patrol Processing Coordinator” position is designed to help alleviate the administrative duties that CBP agents have been forced to take on, often at the expense of their traditional enforcement duties, as record numbers of women and children have arrived at the border seeking asylum.
“I am committed to providing the men and women of the U.S. Border Patrol the resources they need to accomplish their border-security mission,” said Carla Provost, chief of the U.S. Border Patrol. “Border Patrol Processing Coordinators will take on processing, transportation, and custody responsibilities, which will free up agents for critical law-enforcement operations.”
Record numbers of family units began turning themselves in at the border earlier this year. Under current law, nearly all of those asylum-seekers must be admitted to the country while their claims are being adjudicated, causing a massive strain on federal resources that has led to the creation of so-called tent cities and, in some cases, to the release of hundreds of migrants into the care of private charity organizations in major cities along the border.
The recent migrant surge has also caused border security to suffer as roughly 40 percent of Border Patrol agents have been forced to handle processing, transportation, and custody responsibilities, rather than the law-enforcement operations for which they are trained, according to Provost’s press release.
The announcement comes days after 16-year-old Carlos Hernandez Vasquez became the fifth migrant child to die in federal custody in the last six months. The spate of fatalities has prompted heated recriminations from Democratic politicians and activists, who argue they could have been avoided through more permissive immigration policies. Administration officials, meanwhile, have urged Congress to grant them additional resources to provide medical care and housing to migrants, as well as increased latitude to repel asylum-seekers at the border.