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- Just weeks after President Donald Trump ordered nearly 6,000 troops to the US-Mexico border, the largest active-duty mobilization to the border during his presidency, some of those troops will start heading home.
- The expected end date for the operation is December 15, but some troops that are either not needed or have completed their mission could leave before that date, according to Politico.
- For those not heading home, Thanksgiving dinner will be shipped to troops at the border.
Weeks after President Donald Trump ordered nearly 6,000 troops to the US-Mexico border, the largest active-duty mobilization to the border during his presidency, some of those troops will start heading home.
The expected end date for the operation is December 15, but some troops that are either not needed or have completed their mission could leave before that date, according to Politico. All troops should be back to their home stations well before Christmas, Army Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan told Politico.
“We will continue to support [US Customs and Border Protection’s] request for support up until December 15 unless we are directed otherwise,” Col. Rob Manning, a Pentagon spokesman, said. “At some point in time, when the work is done, we’ll start downsizing some capability or shifting capability to elsewhere on the border. Our numbers will be commensurate with the capacities that DHS and CBP have requested.”
For those not heading home, Thanksgiving dinner will be shipped to troops at the border.
A CNN report published late Monday seemed to contradict the assertion that the border operation was beginning to wind down. The news outlet said Trump is expected to grant some troops the authority to “protect” CBP personnel from migrants “if they engage in violence.” The report, which cited administration officials familiar with the matter, said the troops would also be granted permission to protect federal property.
In late October – days before the November 6, 2018, midterm elections – Trump ordered troops to the US-Mexico border to aid CBP and other law enforcement in anticipation of a caravan of migrants traveling north from Central America. Some 2,800 soldiers were sent to Texas, 1,500 to Arizona, and 1,500 to California – in addition to roughly 2,100 members of the National Guard already deployed.
Usually, when military personnel are sent to the border to back up law enforcement and CPB, it’s part-time National Guard troops (under the command of state’s governors), as was previously authorized. However, the troops sent ahead of the midterm elections included active-duty troops: “three combat engineer battalions, members of the US Army Corps of Engineers and troops who specialize in aviation, medical treatment and logistics,” according to The Washington Post.
Critics called the mobilization of troops to the border a political stunt pulled before the midterm elections to rally the president’s base.
The troops were mainly responsible for building barriers along the border including shipping containers and barbed wire. Thus far, roughly seven miles of wire have been placed at the border, according to Military.com. And the concertina wire mission has been completed in Texas, Stars and Stripes reported. The Pentagon said it does not have any clarity on the next step now that barrier emplacement has been completed.
Migrants have begun to arrive in Tijuana, Mexico, and roughly 7,000 could end up there, according to KPBS. Earlier on Monday, CBP closed some northbound traffic and pedestrian lanes at the border crossing.