Pentagon Sending Hundreds More U.S. Soldiers to the Border

The Pentagon has announced that it is sending even more troops to the U.S. border with Mexico.

There are currently 5,000 U.S. troops on the border working to shore up sections of the border barriers and helping to augment security forces there. Now, the Pentagon says that the total number will grow to 6,000 by March 1.

According to the Washington Times:

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Those troops will provide air support to Customs and Border Patrol officers and Homeland Security agents carrying out border security operations. In addition, those forces have been tasked with securing the hundreds of miles of territory along the border, in between the major points of entry into the U.S.

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Mr. Trump has repeatedly said those areas have become a highway for illegal immigrants and illicit narcotics coming into the U.S., despite reports from Homeland Security officials that most of the illegal smuggling comes through known entry points.

U.S. troops are helping to erect 140 miles of concertina wire along the border, work that the Pentagon says is about 30 percent finished.

A Pentagon spokesman said that using troops to build border fencing is “freeing up [border] agents for a more law enforcement role.”

This is also part of the further efforts to fulfill his “national emergency” declaration:

The president declared a national emergency on the southern border a week ago, announcing plans to draw money from military construction programs to fund the border wall. The White House plans to draw $3.6 billion from Pentagon accounts — which requires a national emergency declaration — on top of $6.5 billion in unspent federal funds to pay for the wall.

Administration officials also are moving $2.5 billion from military counter-narcotics programs and $600 million from a Treasury Department forfeiture program that collects money from drug lords and other criminals.

Naturally, Democrats continue to criticize the president’s actions on the border. But thus far there doesn’t seem to be anything they can do about it.

Indeed, last week we learned that some new border fencing is already being built.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection noted last Tuesday that work has started on new barriers at the U.S. border with Mexico in San Diego, California.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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