DHS wants 4K troops deployed along U.S.-Mexico border through January

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) wants fewer U.S. troops deployed along the Mexican border for a longer period of time.

The number of service members would be lowered from 5,600 to 4,000, The Associated Press reported, while the deployment would be extended through Jan. 31.

The Department of Homeland Security made the request for changes on Friday, according to the Defense Department. Military officials have reportedly been working with DHS to help craft a request that would be approved by the Pentagon and help support Customs and Border Protection (CBP) operations along the border with Mexico.


"Today, DHS submitted a request for assistance to the Department of Defense to extend its support through January 31, 2019," Pentagon spokesman Army Lt. Col. Jamie Davis said in a statement Friday. "This request refines support to ensure it remains aligned with the current threat, the nature of the mission, and CBP operational requirements."

President TrumpDonald TrumpCaitlyn Jenner says election was not 'stolen,' calls Biden 'our president' Overnight Health Care: FDA authorizes Pfizer vaccine for adolescents | Biden administration reverses limits on LGBTQ health protections Overnight Defense: US fires 30 warning shots at Iranian boats | Kabul attack heightens fears of Afghan women's fates | Democratic Party leaders push Biden on rejoining Iran deal MORE deployed thousands of service members to the border before the Nov. 6 midterm elections, arguing that migrants moving through Mexico and toward the southern border are a national security threat to the U.S.

“The president has made it clear that border security is a top administration priority," DHS spokeswoman Katie Waldman said in a statement to The Hill. "DHS has reached out for assistance from partners across the federal government to defend our sovereignty, protect our frontline men and women, and secure our border. We appreciate all of the support we have received to date.”

Democrats and some Republicans have said the migrants, many of whom are fleeing violence in their home countries in Central America, do not present a threat to the U.S. They have also accused Trump of staging a political stunt by deploying the troops to drum up Republican support shortly before the midterms.

The Army commander overseeing the mission at the border told Politico earlier this month that the Pentagon was planning to begin a troop drawdown.

Ellen Mitchell contributed. Updated at 4:32 p.m.