The Pentagon is sending 3,750 troops to America’s southern border to extend its mission to support border control activities, the Pentagon announced Sunday.
“Additional units are being deployed for 90 days, and we will continue to evaluate the force composition required to meet the mission to protect and secure the southern border,” the Pentagon said, according to a report by Fox News.
A total of about 4,350 troops will now be on duty along the border.
The Pentagon said troops will operate mobile surveillance cameras in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas. Other troops will string up 150 more miles of concertina wire, Reuters reported.
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said the troops will watch for emerging and potential threats, according to a report by Fox News.
“It’s really around this mission of monitoring, surveilling and detection,” Shanahan said of the new deployments.
Adam Smith, a Democratic congressman representing Washington state, was furious that the troops were being sent without the committee having been told during a House Armed Services committee hearing last week, CNN reported.
“The Members of the Committee would have been extremely interested in discussing what the 3,500 troops going to the border in response to DHS’s latest request will be doing there,” Smith wrote in a letter to Shanahan.
“This is a violation of the executive branch’s obligation to be transparent with Congress, which oversees, authorizes, and funds its operations,” Smith wrote.
President Donald Trump had foreshadowed the move last week in a tweet.
“More troops being sent to the Southern Border to stop the attempted Invasion of Illegals, through large Caravans, into our Country. We have stopped the previous Caravans, and we will stop these also,” Trump tweeted.
More troops being sent to the Southern Border to stop the attempted Invasion of Illegals, through large Caravans, into our Country. We have stopped the previous Caravans, and we will stop these also. With a Wall it would be soooo much easier and less expensive. Being Built!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 31, 2019
Trump ordered the initial deployments of troops to the southern border last fall.
Navy Vice Adm. Michael Gilday, director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a hearing last week the deployments have helped, ABC has reported.
“We believe that our military’s presence and support have served to increase the effectiveness of CBP’s border security operation by enabling them to focus on their law enforcement duties at our ports of entry,” Gilday said. “We’re not trying just to have a photo op down there.”
On Sunday, Trump refused to tip his hand about what comes next. Trump gives his State of the Union message Tuesday, and during a session with reports last week hinted that he might declare a national emergency to build the wall outside of traditional budget constraints.
“I don’t take anything off the table. I don’t like to take things off the table. It’s that alternative. It’s national emergency, it’s other things and you know there have been plenty national emergencies called,” he said during an interview broadcast Sunday on the CBS show “Face the Nation.”
“And this really is an invasion of our country by human traffickers. These are people that are horrible people bringing in women mostly, but bringing in women and children into our country. Human trafficking. And we’re going to have a strong border. And the only way you have a strong border is you need a physical barrier. You need a wall. And anybody that says you don’t, they’re just playing games,” Trump said.
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