The U.S. military will be sending 5,000 support troops to the U.S.-Mexico border, the Pentagon announced on Monday. The exact number could be slightly higher or lower, a Pentagon official told NPR. The official said the deployment is being done to support the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection.
The uniformed troops will likely be active-duty Army personnel, with perhaps some members of the Army Reserve and Marines. There are already 2,100 National Guard members deployed to the border.
Because the Posse Comitatus Act prohibits the U.S. military from performing law enforcement activities within the United States, these troops will be in support roles only. They will not have arresting power and won’t interact with migrants.
The New York Times reports:
The deployment is the first piece of a multistage approach that Mr. Trump has been considering for several weeks, and which also is expected to include executive action to bar entry to Central Americans, including for those seeking asylum.
The number of troops is notable because the migrant caravan, which is still hundreds of miles away, now numbers about 3,500, and is expected to shrink substantially before getting close to the United States border with Mexico.
That is far fewer than the number of soldiers the Pentagon said would be deployed. “We will not allow a large group to enter the United States in an unsafe and unlawful manner,” said Kevin K. McAleenan, the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection.
Stock market plunging, people’s healthcare is being threatened, deficits of a trillion a year, tax cuts a ripoff, and lots of corrupt leaders. These people in are 1,000 miles away, on foot, and unarmed. Sending 5,000 troops to the border is a stunt. We are not falling for it.
— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) October 29, 2018
JUST IN: US troops already flowing to border. 800 arrived today. Another 200 to arrive tomorrow. 1700 will be in place by Saturday, according to senior US defense official. 5000 total expected to be sent. Mattis signed order Friday authorizing troops to be there through Dec 15,
— Jennifer Griffin (@JenGriffinFNC) October 29, 2018
There are only ~3,000 migrants left in the caravan. They’re a month away and will be far fewer in number by the time they arrive. So we’re rushing 5,000 troops to border. Oh, and applying for asylum is protected under international law.
— Clara Jeffery (@ClaraJeffery) October 29, 2018