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US Troops to Stay at Border Through September, But Role Changes

A Texas National Guardsman and a Customs and a Border Protection agent discuss the border security mission on the shores of the Rio Grande River in Starr County, Texas, April 10, 2018. The National Guard presence is part of the federal call-up to support the Department of Homeland Security in securing the border.
A Texas National Guardsman and a Customs and a Border Protection agent discuss the border security mission on the shores of the Rio Grande River in Starr County, Texas, April 10, 2018. The National Guard presence is part of the federal call-up to support the Department of Homeland Security in securing the border. (Texas Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Mark Otte)

“DOD is transitioning its support at the southwestern border from hardening ports of entry to mobile surveillance and detection.”

The Pentagon has approved an official request to keep active duty troops at the Mexico border through September. The request was made by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in October last year. The active duty troops and the National Guard were sent in batches to secure the border, where there is now about 4,500 troops at the border.

Keeping troops at the border through September 30, 2019, will mark almost one year of having the military at the station.

The military troops were sent to the US-Mexico border to help secure border entry points from any illegal immigrants attempting to enter the United States. The request of troops came particularly in response to the arrival of migrant caravans bringing thousands of immigrants all attempting to enter the US at once. The first migrant caravan of 2019 set out this week, leaving from Hondorus and heading towards the US border.

The active duty troops and National Guard served at the border primarily to construct barriers, lay concertina wire and set up other blockages at entry points. They also assisted border patrol agents in Texas, Arizona and California. Apart from these, the troops will also be setting up surveillance in addition to laying the wires.

The Pentagon’s announcement claimed the role of troops would be adjusted to conduct more surveillance.

“DOD is transitioning its support at the southwestern border from hardening ports of entry to mobile surveillance and detection, as well as concertina wire emplacement between ports of entry. DOD will continue to provide aviation support,” the statement read.

The Pentagon in its statement also said Acting Secretary of Defense Pat Shanahan endorsed extending the term of the troops at the border after the DHS and the Department of Defense made the request.

 

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