KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Two rangers from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will do two-week assignments along the U.S. southern border next year. But when they'll go is something the National Park Service is keeping to itself.
"The National Park Service continues to support our federal partners by deploying law enforcement personnel to Department of the Interior managed lands along the southern border," an NPS statement Monday to 10News reads. "Due to operational security, we will not be disclosing any additional information about our officers assisting in the operations."
Park rangers across the United States are being assigned to temporary border duties at the behest of the Trump administration.
President Donald Trump and the Department of Homeland Security have in recent years stepped up emphasis of the need for greater border security. Trump has sought billions of dollars in new funding to build a wall he says is needed along the Mexican border.
Last month, USA Today reported that rangers have been sent from the Blue Ridge Parkway, Rocky Mountain National Park and Zion National Park among others. The news network says most rangers have gone to the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge in Arizona or Big Bend National Park in southwest Texas.
They're assigned to help address illegal immigrants and drug traffickers.
Earlier this year, the number of people from Central America trying to cross into the U.S. swelled, creating a humanitarian crisis.
Dana Soehn, Smokies park spokeswoman, tells 10News she could confirm that "we were asked to send two rangers in 2019 and two in 2020 for short, two-week detail assignments to aid in operations."
She referred additional questions to media officials with the NPS.