Kirsters Baish’s POV| Hundreds of United States troops have been approved to deploy to the shared southern border with Mexico.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
The Pentagon has approved a request from the Department of Homeland Security for 320 additional U.S. troops at the southern border, and has approved expanded authorities that allow them to come into direct contact with migrants and asylum seekers, defense officials said.
According to a statement released by the Department of Defense (DOD) on Monday, those troops are being sent to the southern border to monitor “the welfare of individuals” who are currently in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody.
“Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan has approved a Department of Homeland Security request for DoD support in response to the humanitarian crisis at the border,” Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Jamie Davis explained in the statement.
“DoD personnel will assist in driving high-capacity CBP vehicles to transport migrants; providing administrative support, including providing heating, meal distribution and monitoring the welfare of individuals in CBP custody; and attorney support to [Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)],” Davis continued.
The Hill reports:
Shanahan’s approval of the additional personnel eases restrictions on troops interacting with migrants entering the country.
Under a 2006 policy that was in effect until Monday, military personnel were prohibited from coming into contact with migrants. However, a waiver was provided last year to allow troops to provide emergency medical care.
The new change will also allow military lawyers, cooks and drivers to help with handling migrants entering the United States.
The notice stresses that the additional personnel will not perform any law enforcement functions.
“In any situation that requires DoD personnel to be in proximity to migrants, DHS law enforcement personnel will be present to conduct all custodial and law enforcement functions, and provide force protection of military personnel,” the notice said.
The Department of Defense personnel being sent to the border will be there until September 30th, costing around $7.4 million.
The Hill explains that these new troops are joining the “now roughly 3,000 active-duty service members already at the southern border. Trump first deployed troops last year to assist in addressing a migrant caravan traveling to the United States from Central America. Those troops are in addition to about 2,000 National Guard members who were deployed in April 2018 to assist in border security.”
Take a look at the following CBS story on the matter: