The Pentagon has approved a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) request to send an additional 2,100 active duty and National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border, the Defense Department announced Wednesday.
The deployment will consist of 1,100 active duty troops and 1,000 Texas National Guard troops and add to the roughly 4,500 active duty and Guard troops already at the border, bringing the total to 6,600.
Acting Defense Secretary Richard Spencer — who is Pentagon chief temporarily until the Senate confirms a permanent Defense secretary — approved the request Tuesday night.
“Active Duty force deployments will increase in the next several weeks by approximately 1,100 personnel in support of [Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP)] Operation Guardian Support mission,” the Defense Department said in a statement.
The move marks the latest effort to support President TrumpDonald TrumpTexas announces election audit in four counties after Trump demand Schumer sets Monday showdown on debt ceiling-government funding bill Pennsylvania AG sues to block GOP subpoenas in election probe MORE's border enforcement policies, which have come under criticism from many Democrats and immigration advocates for the treatment of migrants detained at the border.
Some lawmakers have also expressed concerns that the Trump administration is misusing the military to push a political agenda.
Active duty troops will assist with aerial surveillance and provide operational, logistical and administrative support, and are meant to backfill the mission “due to a shortfall in volunteer National Guard personnel.”
National Guard personnel will support CBP’s efforts “to secure the southern land border of the United States,” through Sept. 30, the Pentagon said.
Approximately 750 Guard members will provide “supplemental holding support” to CBP at its temporary adult migrant holding facilities in Donna and Tornillo, Texas. Guard personnel “will assist DHS law enforcement personnel with operational, logistical, and administrative support,” while DHS law enforcement personnel will supervise migrants, the Defense Department added.
Another 250 Guard members will “provide port of entry" support at certain locations and airports in Texas.
The statement said military personnel may be armed as “informed by the circumstances of their mission.”
The Trump administration first deployed Guard troops to the border in April 2018, and began active duty deployments in October.
The active duty deployments since October have cost the Pentagon more than $400 million as of last month and are expected to stretch past Sept. 30.