Report: Mattis expected to send 800 troops to US-Mexico border
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.
Brandon Judd of the National Border Patrol Council is right when he says on @foxandfriends that the Democrat inspired laws make it tough for us to stop people at the Border. MUST BE CHANDED, but I am bringing out the military for this National Emergency. They will be stopped!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 25, 2018
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.