Pentagon hopes to complete first phase of its border mission

Pentagon hopes to complete first phase of its border mission

The Pentagon rejected a request from the Trump administration for troops to help counter a group of Central American migrants walking to the USA border to request asylum.

Trump has said he could request a deployment of as many as 15,000 troops to the border in support of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. "Your presence is needed everywhere along the 2,000-mile border from San Diego, California, to Brownsville, Texas", the website says. "I noticed all that attractive barbed wire going up today", President Donald Trump said at a campaign rally in Montana on Sunday. As many as 8,000 troops, if not more depending on operational demands, could eventually be deployed to the border in support of Operation Faithful Patriot.

"Members who are deployed in support of the Department of Homeland Security's border mission are not eligible for imminent-danger pay", he said in a statement Monday.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said there was a similar caravan at the Guatemala-Mexico border region consisting of 3,000 people. "We are providing enabling capability".

Active duty USA troops are barred from domestic law enforcement unless there is an emergency, but Trump has repeatedly raised the prospect of having troops enforce the border as he campaigns hard on the dangers of immigration ahead of the midterm elections. They are now making their way through the Gulf Coast state of Veracruz, and are around 750 miles from the USA border. The remark was short-lived as the next day Trump walked it back, saying that those who attack the U.S. military will simply be arrested in accordance with USA law.

The majority of the forces are now in Texas where 2,600 service members have arrived over the last week, there are 1,100 service members in Arizona and California respectively.

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"There is no plan for DoD personnel to interact with migrants or protesters", he said, as reported by Military Times.

The primary tasks of the active-duty 5,200-strong contingent, expected to grow to 7,000 in the coming days, will be construction and engineering, Pentagon officials said. One official says that DHS was informally discouraged from making the request by the defense department.

The Pentagon has yet to determine the cost of the operation, nor has it identified the account where the funding would come from.

Reuters was first to report that the Pentagon had balked at the initial request from the Department of Homeland Security.

Trump then said in a speech at the White House last week that he plans to build "massive cities of tents" to detain migrants, who would be held in those facilities indefinitely while the authorities weighs their asylum request.

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