The Interior Department is sending its law enforcement officers to help the Department of Homeland Security secure the U.S.– Mexico border, according to an internal email obtained by The Hill.
The announcement from the U.S. Park Police (USPP) Planning Unit and National Park Service (NPS), sent last Thursday, says that officers from both agencies will assist the Border Patrol along the southwest border starting May 13 as part of “Secretary [Ryan] Zinke’s offer of assistance to the Department of Homeland Security.”
USPP officers are traditionally tasked with policing NPS property around Washington, D.C., New York and San Francisco.According to the guidance, officers will be sent in rotating groups and spend “approximately 21 days” at two national park and monument sites located on the U.S.–Mexico border: Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona and Amistad National Recreation Area in Texas.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke called his decision to deploy Interior law enforcement officers to the southern border “the first of many steps Interior will take to secure the homeland.”
“President Trump and I are 100 percent committed to keeping our border communities and the American people safe and secure, which is why I’m deploying some of Interior’s law enforcement officers to increase security on the southern border,” Zinke told the Hill in a statement. “Interior is ready, willing, and able to deploy a significant force to carry out the President’s mission.”
The department will be sending 22 officers to DOI law enforcement offices in Texas and Arizona to “stop illegal border crossings,” an Interior spokesperson confirmed. The program with U.S. Customs and Border Protection will continue to be reviewed and adjusted over the summer leading up to “peak season” according to the spokesperson.