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US active-duty mobilization to US-Mexico border under Trump winding down

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US Border troops razor wire
Army
soldiers pause from the heat while stringing razor wire near the
port of entry at the U.S.-Mexico border on November 4,
2018.


John
Moore/Getty Images



Weeks after President Donald Trump
ordered nearly 6,000 troops to the US-Mexico border
— the
largest active-duty mobilization to the border during his
presidency — some of those troops will start heading home.

The expected end date for the operation is December 15, but
according to
Politico
, some troops that are either not needed or have
completed their mission, could leave before that date, and
overall they should be back to their home stations well before
Christmas, Army Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan told Politico.

“We will continue to support [US Customs and Border Protection’s]
request for support up until December 15 unless we are directed
otherwise,” Col. Rob Manning,
a Pentagon spokesman, said
. “At some point in time, when the
work is done, we’ll start downsizing some capability or shifting
capability to elsewhere on the border. Our numbers will be
commensurate with the capacities that DHS and CBP have
requested.”

For those not heading home,
Thanksgiving dinner will be shipped to troops at the border
.


A CNN report
published late Monday seemed to contradict the
assertion that the border operation was beginning to wind down.
The news outlet said Trump is expected to grant some troops the
authority to “protect” CBP personnel from migrants “if they
engage in violence.” The report, which cited administration
officials familiar with the matter said the troops would also be
granted permission to protect federal property.

In late October — days before the November 6, 2018, midterm
elections — Trump ordered troops to the US-Mexico border to aid
CBP and other law-enforcement and in anticipation of a caravan of
migrants traveling north from Central America. Some 2,800
soldiers were sent to Texas, 1,500 to Arizona, and 1,500 in
California — in addition to roughly 2,100 members of the National
Guard already deployed.

Usually, when military personnel are sent to the border to back
up law enforcement and CPB, it’s part-time National Guard troops
(under the command of state’s governors), as was previously

authorized.
However, the troops sent ahead of the
midterm elections included active-duty troops: “three combat
engineer battalions, members of the US Army Corps of Engineers
and troops who specialize in aviation, medical treatment and
logistics,” according to
The Washington Post.
 Critics called the mobilization of
troops to the border a
political stunt
pulled before the midterm elections to rally
the president’s base.

The troops were mainly responsible for building barriers along
the border including shipping containers and barbed wire. Thus
far, roughly seven miles of wire have been placed at the border,
according to
Military.com
. And the concertina wire mission has been
completed in Texas,
Stars and Stripes
 reported. The Pentagon said that it
does not have any clarity on the next step now that barrier
emplacement has been completed.

Migrants have begun to arrive in Tijuana, Mexico, and roughly
7,000 could end up there,
according to KPBS
. Earlier on Monday, CBP closed some
northbound traffic and pedestrian lanes at the border crossing.

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