Defense Secretary James Mattis has authorized up to 4,000 National Guard troops to remain deployed along the U.S.-Mexico border until next fall, according to the Pentagon.
Mattis earlier this week gave a 12-month extension of the current deployment order, set to expire at the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30, said Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Jamie Davis.
The guardsmen are authorized to support U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) through Sept. 30, 2019.
“Nothing changes. It’s going to be the same amount of people in the same places,” Davis told The Hill.
President Trump in April signed an executive memorandum directing Mattis to bolster the Department of Homeland Security’s effort to combat a spike in border crossings. Trump said the troops would remain at the border until his proposed wall is built.
“Until we can have a wall and proper security, we are going to be guarding our border with the military,” he said.
Mattis approved as many as 4,000 troops to be deployed.
Currently, there are roughly 2,100 guardsmen deployed to the southern border in Arizona, Texas, New Mexico and California.
Davis said the deployment will continue to be funded in the same way, with the National Guard doing initial outlay, to be reimbursed by the federal government.
The Pentagon’s April memo stipulates that the guardsmen not perform law enforcement activities or interact with migrants or other individuals detained by Homeland Security without approval. Reports in June suggested that most troops were doing support work away from the border, such as fixing flat tires or shoveling manure at horse stables.