US military personnel ordered to paint border barriers to improve 'aesthetic appearance'

United States military personnel deployed near the U.S.-Mexico border have reportedly been assigned to paint certain barrier structures to strengthen their “aesthetic appearance.”

Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinSchumer steps on the gas to move Biden agenda Demand Justice launches ad campaign backing Biden nominee who drew GOP pushback The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Omicron tests vaccines; Bob Dole dies at 98 MORE (D-Ill.) said on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) informed Congress that troops are going to spend the next month painting barriers and that “the primary purpose is to improve the aesthetic appearance.”

“A disgraceful misuse of taxpayer $$,” Durbin said on Twitter. “Our military has more important work to do than making Trump’s wall beautiful.”

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CBS News reported that lawmakers were notified of the assignment via email. DHS said that an unspecified number of service members would paint barriers in Calexico, Calif., a city located along the southern border, according to text shared with the news network. The assignment will reportedly take about a month. 

"While the primary purpose is to improve the aesthetic appearance of the wall, there may also be an operational benefit based on our experience with painted barrier in Nogales, Arizona," the email read, CBS News noted. 

DHS and the Pentagon did not immediately return a request for comment from CBS News. The departments did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Hill. 

DHS pointed to the benefits of painting border structures in its notification to Congress, noting that painting border barriers in Tucson, Ariz., helped Border Patrol agents combat "camouflaging tactics of illegal border crossers" who tried to escape detection, CBS News reported. DHS added that migrants appear to have more difficulty climbing painted barriers. 

The Pentagon has sent thousands of U.S. troops to assist Customs and Border Protection this year. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick ShanahanPatrick Michael ShanahanProtection of critical military benefit shows bipartisanship can work Senators introducing bill to penalize Pentagon for failed audits Overnight Defense: National Guard boosts DC presence ahead of inauguration | Lawmakers demand probes into troops' role in Capitol riot | Financial disclosures released for Biden Pentagon nominee MORE told Congress in May that 4,364 troops are stationed at the border

He also said that the military would not leave the southern border until the area is "secure."