Active-duty troops at border will not receive combat pay

Active-duty troops at border will not receive combat pay
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Pentagon officials said Monday that the 5,200 troops deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border will not receive "combat pay" or "danger pay," compensation for working in a dangerous environment.

"Members who are deployed in support of the Department of Homeland Security's border mission are not eligible for imminent-danger pay," Defense Department spokesman Col. Robert Manning told The Hill.

Manning explained that troops do not qualify for the additional money unless they are on duty "in foreign areas, designated as such because of wartime conditions, civil war, civil insurrection or terrorism."

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Troops will also not receive hostile-fire pay since the border mission is considered noncombative.

"Our military will not receive combat pay or hostile-fire pay as they are not deploying to a combat area, nor are they expected to be subject to hostile fire," Manning said.

He did say that those deployed will be eligible for family separation pay. 

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Monday that the troops will not directly interact with the 7,000 or so immigrants approaching the U.S. border.

"There is no plan for U.S. military forces to be involved in the actual mission of denying people entry to the United States," Gen. Joseph Dunford said.

"There is no plan for the soldiers to come in with immigrants or to reinforce the Department of Homeland Security as they are conducting their mission."

The Pentagon reportedly rejected a request from the White House in October to allow the troops to perform emergency law enforcement tasks along the border.

Instead, military personnel have been helping Border Patrol staff fill out physical barriers along the border. Troops laid down barbed wire over the weekend to help fill secure the Texas side of the Rio Grande River. 

Trump ordered the troops there to help seal the border and has said that as many as 15,000 troops could be deployed in total.

—Ellen Mitchell contributed.