Report: Mattis expected to send 800 troops to US-Mexico border

Oct 25, 2018, 8:28 AM | Updated: 10:23 am
U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis talks to the media in presence of Macedonian Prime Minister Zor...

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis talks to the media in presence of Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev following their meeting at the government building in Skopje, Macedonia, Monday, Sept. 17, 2018. Mattis arrived in Macedonia Monday, condemning Russian efforts to use its money and influence to build opposition to an upcoming vote that could pave the way for the country to join NATO, a move Moscow opposes. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)

(AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)

PHOENIX — U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis is expected to sign an order as early as Thursday to send at least 800 troops to the U.S.-Mexico border, the Associated Press reported.

The publication did not provide any details about when the order would be signed or where exactly the troops would be going, citing a U.S. official.

The U.S. official was not authorized to speak publicly because the details had not yet been finalized and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The additional troops are to provide what one official described as logistical support to the Border Patrol. This would include a variety of things such as vehicles, tents and equipment.

It was not immediately clear how many, if any, of the extra troops would be armed.

Because they would not be performing law enforcement duties they would not be in violation of the Posse Comitatus Act, which prohibits the federal government from using the armed forces in a domestic police role.

The news came shortly after President Donald Trump said in a tweet that he was “bringing out the military” to address what he’s calling a national emergency at the southern border.

Trump blamed Democrats for laws he claimed makes it too hard to stop people at the border. He said those trying to enter the U.S. “will be stopped!”

Trump’s tweet came as thousands of Central American migrants continue their caravan trek through Mexico toward the hoped-for — but still far-distant — U.S. border.

There already are about 2,000 National Guard troops assisting at the border under a previous Pentagon arrangement.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey sent hundreds of troops to the border earlier this year as part of “Operation Guardian Shield,” a mission that extended through Sept. 30.

On Monday, Trump said in a tweet that he’d alerted the military that the situation was a “National Emergy” — but the Pentagon said then that they’d received no new orders to provide troops for border security.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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Report: Mattis expected to send 800 troops to US-Mexico border