Pentagon announces nearly 4,000 additional troops heading to US-Mexico border

Pentagon announces nearly 4,000 additional troops heading to US-Mexico border
© Getty Images

Nearly 4,000 additional U.S. troops will be deployed to the southern border to assist Customs and Border Protection, the Pentagon announced Sunday.

According to a statement released by the Defense Department, 3,750 troops will head to the border for 90 days to aid in placing razor wire along the border, as well as with mobile surveillance operations. The deployment will bring the number of active-duty forces in the area supporting Customs and Border Protection to roughly 4,350.

ADVERTISEMENT

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick ShanahanPatrick Michael ShanahanHouse Armed Services chairman expresses confidence in Esper amid aircraft carrier coronavirus crisis Boeing pleads for bailout under weight of coronavirus, 737 fallout Esper's chief of staff to depart at end of January MORE said last week that the department would send "several thousand" additional troops to the border, but declined to be more specific.

Rep. Adam SmithDavid (Adam) Adam SmithOvernight Defense: Embattled Pentagon policy nominee withdraws, gets appointment to deputy policy job | Marines, sailor killed in California training accident identified | Governors call for extension of funding for Guard's coronavirus response The Hill's Coronavirus Report: iBIO Chairman and CEO Thomas Isett says developing a safe vaccine is paramount; US surpasses 150,000 coronavirus deaths with roughy one death per minute Overnight Defense: US to pull 11,900 troops from Germany | Troop shuffle to cost 'several billion' dollars | Lawmakers pan drawdown plan | Trump says he hasn't discussed alleged bounties with Putin MORE (D-Wash.), the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, chastised Shanahan last Thursday over the lack of transparency surrounding how many troops were being sent to the border.

The additional troop deployment comes amid a standoff between President TrumpDonald John TrumpJoe Arpaio loses bid for his old position as sheriff Trump brushes off view that Russia denigrating Biden: 'Nobody's been tougher on Russia than I have' Trump tees up executive orders on economy but won't sign yet MORE and congressional Democrats over funding for his desired wall along the southern border. The president has demand $5.7 billion for the structure, which Democrats have staunchly opposed. The stalemate triggered a partial government shutdown that lasted 35 days.

Trump signed legislation to reopen the government until Feb. 15 that did not include money for the wall, but allowed for a bipartisan group of lawmakers to negotiate over border security funding.

The president has expressed doubts that the final agreement will be to his liking, raising the prospect of another government shutdown or that he could declare a national emergency to secure money for the wall. The latter measure would likely prompt swift legal challenges.

Trump tweeted last Thursday that more troops were being sent to the border, but that building a wall would be "soooo much easier and less expensive."

Trump last year ordered thousands of troops be sent to secure the southern border in anticipation of the arrival a caravan of Central American migrants that the president had portrayed as a horde of criminals. Critics decried the use of the military as a political stunt.

Updated at 5:15 p.m.