Officials in Southern Arizona respond as President Biden sends troops to the U.S.-Mexico Border

Ahead of an expected migrant surge as pandemic-era restrictions end, President Joe Biden is sending 1,500 troops to the United States-Mexico Border.

Under current COVID-19 restrictions, U.S. officials are allowed to turn away tens of thousands of migrants crossing the southern border, but those restrictions will lift May 11.

"These personnel will be performing administrative tasks, like data entry and warehouse support. They will not be performing law enforcement functions, or interacting with immigrants or migrants," said White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

The troops are expected to be deployed on May 10, and will carry out this support for 90 days, said a Pentagon spokesperson, "until CBP can address these needs through contracted support."

Even amid the restrictions, the administration has seen record numbers of people crossing the border, and President Joe Biden has responded by cracking down on those who cross illegally and by creating new pathways meant to offer alternatives to a dangerous and often deadly journey.

Border county sheriffs react to announcement

Sheriffs in counties along the border say they found out about the deployment as it was announced on May 2. They were not alerted ahead of time by the Federal government officials.

"How long have we known [about] May 11, or Title 42 is going to go away?" said Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels. "We've all known that for quite some time. Why are we waiting until days before to get out this plan?"

Dannels has been critical of the Biden Administration's handling of the border, but says this is a step in the right direction.

"Is that a proactive approach, or is that a reactive approach, based on the border is already in crisis mode?" Dannels said.

This is not the first time troops were deployed to the U.S.-Mexico Border. Former President Barack Obama did that in 2010, and Former President Donald Trump also did that in 2018. According to those at the front lines of the issues, additional personnel will help.

"It is almost an admission that things are out of control and we are in an emergency-type scenario here," said Yuma Mayor Douglas Nicholls.

Mayor Nicholls says they are already seeing a surge in crossings, and expects that to continue the closer it gets to May 11.

"I'm hoping we top out below the projection of 1,000 a day," said Mayor Nicholls. "If that happens, I think we have a fighting chance. It'll still be very difficult, but as soon as we start cresting 1,000 a day, the system just starts to break down."

We also interviewed Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb on the decision to deploy troops. Lamb, who is Republican, is running for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Kyrsten Sinema.

"I am glad that [President Joe Biden is] sending 1,500 troops, don't get me wrong. Thank you for doing that, but at the same time, I don't think it's what Americans think is going to happen," said Lamb.

Statement from Rep. Ruben Gallego:

"With Title 42 set to end next week, the announcement of additional troops on Arizona’s border is needed to alleviate some of the burdens our border communities on the frontlines are expected to face. But this is a temporary solution—we need to make sure the Department of Homeland Security has the resources it needs in the long-term. As we approach the May 11 Title 42 deadline, I urge the administration to do anything they can under the law to support our Arizona communities as they deal with the imminent surge at the border."

The Associated Press (AP) contributed to this report.