January 14, 2019 11:51 pm

Pentagon extends U.S. military mission along Mexico border through September

WATCH: Trump 'not looking to call a national emergency' on border security

A A

The U.S. military will extend a mission to support security along the U.S. border with Mexico through Sept. 30, the Pentagon said on Monday.

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan approved the extension in response to a request from the Homeland Security Department, the Pentagon said in a statement. There are about 2,350 troops assigned to the border mission.

The deployment had previously been authorized through Jan. 31 by former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

Story continues below

READ MORE: Democrats may put more focus on Canada-U.S. border security, rather than Mexico

President Donald Trump ordered the deployment in October, shortly before November congressional elections, as a part of an effort to crack down on illegal immigration, as waves of thousands of migrants escaping violence in Central America trekked toward the United States.

Critics, including opposition Democrats in Congress but also some U.S. military veterans, have derided the troop deployment as a political stunt.

WATCH: Trump claims border wall only way to prevent illegal immigration

The Pentagon said it was “transitioning its support at the southwestern border from hardening ports of entry to mobile surveillance and detection, as well as concertina wire emplacement between ports of entry.”

It said it would continue to provide aviation support.

© 2019 Reuters

Report an error

Comments

Want to discuss? Please read our Commenting Policy first.