U.S. plans to send transportation security staff to U.S.-Mexico border: CNN

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FILE PHOTO: Concertina wire is seen atop a section of border fence near the U.S.-Mexico border in Donna, Texas, U.S. May 2, 2019. REUTERS/Loren Elliott

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump administration plans to redirect hundreds of Transportation Security Administration staff, including air marshals, to the U.S. southern border to assist with immigration duties and migrant flows, CNN reported on Wednesday.

The TSA border assignment will last at least 45 days and comes at the start of the summer travel season, which a U.S. official acknowledged carried “some risk,” CNN reported, citing an internal email it obtained.

TSA staff will include 175 law enforcement officials and as many as 400 security staff drawn from six U.S. cities but will not include airport screeners, CNN said, citing two additional unnamed sources. The six cities were not immediately identified.

Representatives for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security could not be immediately reached to confirm the report.

“There is now immediate need for more help from TSA at the SW border,” Gary Renfrow, a senior TSA official, wrote in the email to agency regional management, according to CNN.

“We also understand that we are accepting some risk as we enter a very busy summer,” Renfrow wrote, according to the CNN report.

The TSA border deployments will be between 45 and 60 days but could last longer, CNN said, citing the email.

TSA law enforcement officials sent to the border will receive legal training and assist the Customs and Border Protection department as immigration officers, the report said.

Writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe

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