Pentagon Sending Another 3,750 Troops to Mexico Border

February 3, 2019 Updated: February 3, 2019

WASHINGTON—The Pentagon is sending 3,750 additional troops to the southwest border with Mexico for three months to support border agents, the Department of Defense said on Feb. 3.

The deployment will raise the total number of active-duty forces supporting Customs and Border Protection agents there to about 4,350, it said.

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U.S. Army soldiers from Ft. Riley, Kansas string razor wire near the port of entry at the U.S.-Mexico border in Donna, Texas on Nov. 4, 2018. (John Moore/Getty Images)

The Pentagon disclosed the official figure days after a Democratic lawmaker said about 3,500 extra troops would be deployed.

The Pentagon says the military will operate mobile surveillance cameras in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas, a mission scheduled to run through Sept. 30. Some of the additional troops will also string up 150 more miles of concertina wire.

President Donald Trump, who has called the situation at the border as a humanitarian crisis, is expected to talk about immigration and his proposal for a wall along the border with Mexico during the annual State of the Union address on Tuesday.

President Donald Trump on Feb. 1 said there is a “good chance” that he will have to declare a national emergency to secure funds for a border wall.

Asked if he will definitely declare a national emergency, the president said, “I think there’s a good chance we’ll have to do that.”

“I don’t want to say,” he added. “You’ll hear the State of the Union and let’s see what happens.”

Trump reached a deal with Democrats on Jan. 25 to reopen the government for three weeks so that lawmakers can negotiate a deal that includes funds for a border wall—the president’s landmark campaign promise.

On Jan. 31, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said that Democrats will not include any money for a border wall in their proposed legislation.

The president and Democrats are at an impasse over Trump’s request for $5.7 billion in funds for border wall construction. The wall is part of a larger border security package requested by experts at the Department of Homeland Security.

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting at the White House, Washington, on Jan. 31, 2019. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

The Pentagon first approved the high-profile deployment of active-duty troops to the Mexico border in October, before the November congressional elections. The move was embraced by Trump’s supporters, including fellow Republicans in Congress.

Marine Corps engineers from Camp Pendleton put up razor wire just east of the San Ysidro Port of Entry where trains pass from the United States into Mexico, and Mexico into the United States, to support Border Patrol on Nov. 6, 2018. (John Gibbins/The San Diego Union-Tribune via AP)

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan approved the latest deployment on Jan. 11, according to the statement. But a figure was not disclosed until Thursday, when Democratic U.S. Representative Adam Smith, chairman of the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, said 3,500 additional troops were being sent.

The Epoch Times reporter Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this report.

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