(NewsNation) — A record-breaking number of migrant encounters is prompting the Department of Homeland Security to reroute U.S. air marshals to the southern border.
Customs and Border Protection logged more than 2.3 million encounters in the 2022 fiscal year that ended Sept. 30. More than 230,000 encounters were reported in October, a jump from about 165,000 the same month last year.
Confirming the deployment of air marshals to the southern border, the TSA said it was “grateful for their work” in supporting CBP personnel.
“The deployment of Federal Air Marshals to execute (the) DHS mission at the southwest border on a reimbursable basis is temporary,” the TSA said in a statement. “At the same time, our expert Federal Air Marshal Service workforce continues their important work in transportation security.”
A NewsNation source within the Federal Air Marshal Service said reports suggesting that only 1% of flights now have an air marshal onboard “seems a little extreme.”
This isn’t the first time this has happened. DHS requested air marshals be sent to the border during a surge in 2019, when encounters exceeded 850,000, only a fraction of the numbers in the last fiscal year.
It comes as the Border Patrol has doubled its hiring incentive from $10,000 to $20,000 for new recruits. DHS has also created a volunteer force of workers to help with daily duties at the soft sided facilities along the border.