Troops sent to the Mexican border as reinforcements against the migrant caravans late last year will stay nine more months, according to the Pentagon, which announced their mission will shift toward surveillance.
Active duty and National Guard units previously tasked with barrier construction, maintenance, and helping border patrol agents will transition to conducting surveillance, though some will continue reinforcing the border with concertina wire. Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan approved nine more months of Department of Defense assistance to the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees all border operations and initially sent for the troops at the start of the current migrant crisis.
“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 Pentagon said in a statement.
About 4,500 US troops were sent to the southern border in October to secure entry points, as thousands of Central American migrants journeyed north from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, hoping to gain asylum in the US.
The stalemate between President Trump and Democratic Party leadership over funding for Trump’s promised border wall has led to the longest government shutdown in US history.
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