DHS asks Pentagon for help amid influx of migrants

DHS asks Pentagon for help amid influx of migrants
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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has asked the Department of Defense (DOD) for more assistance, including providing tents, to handle a surge of migrants coming across the border with Mexico, a Pentagon spokesman confirmed.

CNN first reported that the DHS request was sent to the Pentagon Friday night, with one official saying that it was for single-occupancy units.

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Acting Defense Secretary Patrick ShanahanPatrick Michael ShanahanOvernight Defense: 1,500 troops heading to Mideast to counter Iran | Trump cites Iran tensions to push through Saudi arms sale | Senate confirms Army, Navy chiefs before weeklong recess Trump to send 1,500 troops to Middle East to counter Iran Shanahan challenges Naval Academy graduates to 'set standard' on stopping sexual assault MORE has not formally responded to the request, but he discussed it with acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan on Saturday as the two traveled to McAllen, Texas, to visit the U.S.-Mexico border, Shanahan’s spokesman, Lt. Col. Joe Buccino, told The Hill.

Shanahan’s trip came after Customs and Border Protection said last week that it expects more than 500,000 migrants crossing the border this fiscal year.

Shanahan said troops would remain at the border until it is secure.

“We’re not going to leave until the border is secure,” he said. “This isn’t about identifying a problem. It’s about fixing a problem more quickly.”

Additional ways to support the border mission were discussed between Shanahan and McAleenan on Saturday during the trip, a U.S. official told CNN.

Shanahan told Congress last week that 4,364 troops are currently stationed at the border and are expected to remain there until September, but he said Saturday that their stay “will not be indefinite.”

The administration has already queried the Pentagon about finding housing for migrants on military installations, and DOD in April approved a March request from the Department of Health and Human Services to find housing for as many as 5,000 unaccompanied migrant children.

--This report was updated at 1:43 p.m.