The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has asked the Pentagon to help move migrants awaiting asylum processing in Del Rio, Texas, to other facilities, the Department of Defense's (DOD) top spokesman said Monday.
Press secretary John KirbyJohn KirbyTrump Defense chief blocked idea to send 250,000 troops to border: report Pentagon offers to pay families of those killed in Afghan drone strike China, US military officials held talks to discuss relations MORE said the Pentagon has “received a request for transportation support” from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to help “efforts moving non-U.S. citizen migrants from Del Rio, Texas, to other CBP processing facilities."
The DOD support, which will be on a reimbursable, temporary basis, will conclude on or before Oct. 20 and can “be provided at minimal risk to current DOD missions,” Kirby said.
The Pentagon, should it approve the plan, would lend some of its contracted air support — not military aircraft — to the mission, Kirby added.
He said he did not have further details on the DHS request as the Pentagon is “examining it, reviewing it and determining the best way forward.”
The U.S. government this week began expelling thousands of Haitians currently camped underneath a bridge in Del Rio since crossing into the U.S from Ciudad Acuña, Mexico. Many of the Haitians are seeking asylum and awaiting immigration processing.
The sudden buildup of migrants comes as Haiti has been thrown into disarray in the past few months with the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in July and a 7.2 earthquake the following month.
A DHS official told NBC News that Immigration and Customs Enforcement will be flying six to eight deportation flights a day starting Tuesday.