United States to deploy more troops to Mexico border

U.S. Army soldiers put up a razor wire fence near the U.S.-Mexico border in Donna in November

U.S. Army soldiers put up a razor wire fence near the U.S.-Mexico border in Donna in November

"The Department of Defense will deploy approximately 3,750 additional USA forces to provide the additional support to CBP at the southwest border that Acting Secretary of Defense Shanahan approved January 11", the statement reads.

The new troops will be used to install additional wire barriers and provide a large new system of mobile surveillance and monitoring of the border area.

The Pentagon announced Sunday approximately 3,750 additional US forces will deploy to the southwest border to provide additional support to Customs and Border Protection.

The additional troops will hike the total number of forces at the border to around 4,350, according to the Department of Defense.

Trump ordered the deployments in October 2018 in response to the impending arrival at the border of a caravan of asylum-seekers from Central America. Approved by Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan last month, the troop deployment will end after 90 days.

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The allocation of thousands of troops at the border has been slammed as a political stunt to strengthen Trump's position after he promised to secure US ports of entry with a physical wall during his campaign trail.

The news comes ahead of a February 15 deadline that President Donald Trump set for Congress to agree on funding for building a border wall which he made a key pledge in his election campaign.

The Pentagon's decision to not reveal the size of the increase during a hearing before the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday was slammed by the committee's chairman, Democratic Rep. Adam Smith of Washington. "With Caravans marching through Mexico and toward our Country, Republicans must be prepared to do whatever is necessary for STRONG Border Security", he tweeted.

Part of that pushback is over the use of active-duty troops, with congressional Democrats saying they are being taken away from other important duties by being sent to the border. The stop-gap measure did not include provisions for the wall but instead, allows for bipartisan lawmakers to negotiate funding for border security. "Human Trafficking, Drugs and Criminals of all dimensions - KEEP OUT!" the president wrote.

While Sunday's announcement doesn't mention border fencing specifically, Mr. Trump is considering tapping the Pentagon to carry out his wall-building plans, should he fail to win the money and authority from Congress.

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