Pentagon shifts 250 troops ahead of migrant caravan arrival

Pentagon shifts 250 troops ahead of migrant caravan arrival
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The Pentagon is moving about 250 active-duty troops from Arizona to Texas “in response to migrant caravan activity currently approaching the Texas border,” the Defense Department announced Wednesday.

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick ShanahanPatrick Michael ShanahanDefense chief calls on European allies to be wary of China's investments, blasts Russia Pentagon chief approves 20 more miles of border wall Why Dave Norquist is the perfect choice for DOD's deputy secretary MORE “has authorized the repositioning of approximately 250 active duty military personnel from current border security support missions in Arizona to the vicinity of the Eagle Pass” ahead of the caravan’s arrival, spokesman Capt. Bill Speaks said in a statement.

The Pentagon said the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had requested the move.


The troops being moved, which include military police, medical personnel and engineers, are not newly added and come from “existing authorities and in accordance with previously-approved requests for support,” Speaks said.

NBC News first reported on the troop movement.

The repositioning follows President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday, during which he said that "large, organized caravans are on the march to the United States,” drawing groans from Democratic lawmakers.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenHillicon Valley: Google to limit political ad targeting | Senators scrutinize self-driving car safety | Trump to 'look at' Apple tariff exemption | Progressive lawmakers call for surveillance reforms | House panel advances telecom bills Minority lawmakers call out Google for hiring former Trump DHS official White House backs Stephen Miller amid white nationalist allegations MORE also said in a statement Tuesday that roughly “2,000 aliens have arrived in northern Mexico as part of a 'caravan' seeking to cross the border into Texas.”

“DHS will take all steps to ensure the safety and security of law enforcement personnel on the frontlines,” she added.

Those comments follow a Pentagon announcement on Sunday that it will send 3,750 more troops to the U.S.-Mexico border for 90 days. The troops, who will aid in placing razor wire and mobile surveillance along the border, bring the the number of active-duty forces in the area supporting DHS to roughly 4,350.

Trump has long promised a wall along the southern border, demanding $5.7 billion for the structure. That amount was staunchly opposed by congressional Democrats, triggering a 35-day partial government shutdown that ended last month.

Trump in his speech pledged that he would get the wall built.

“In the past, most of us, the people in this room, voted for a wall," he said. "But the proper wall never got built. I will get it built."