Last week, the Trump administration ordered the deployment of thousands of active-duty USA troops to support Customs and Border Protection agents in three states - Texas, Arizona and California - in response to the caravans.
According to two defense official familiar with the request, the Department of Homeland Security asked that the Pentagon provide a reserve force that could be called upon to provide "crowd and traffic control" and safeguard Customs and Border Protection personnel at the border to counter a group of Central American migrants walking to the United States border to request asylum.
However the Pentagon rejected the request on October 26 even as it signed off on providing DHS with air and logistics support, medical personnel and engineers, CNN reported.It is understood that the request was turned down because the Department of Defense felt that active duty troops do not have the authority to conduct that type of mission unless they are granted additional authorities by the President. "I noticed all that lovely barbed wire going up today", President Donald Trump said at a campaign rally in Montana on Sunday. But, the official noted, that was not expected to be part of Faithful Patriot and the timing of any such future mission was unclear.
The disclosure by USA officials illustrates the tension within the administration over using military resources to fortify the border against illegal immigration, a top election issue for President Donald Trump's base. "We are providing enabling capabilities".
The service members on the border "know exactly what they are doing, they know why they are doing it and they have the proper training and equipment to do it", he said.
It was unclear how many of those forces had taken up missions on the border, which will include support tasks like building housing for Customs and Border Protection personnel and erecting barriers.
"This continues to be a dynamic situation with more units and personnel deploying to the operating area and we expect to reach 5,200 deployed personnel as early as today", said Colonel Bob Manning, a Defense Department spokesman.
For the first time, Native American and Muslim women headed to Congress
Democratic Colorado Governor-elect Jared Polis arrives onstage with running mate Dianne Primavera on November 6, 2018 in Denver. For the first time, a pair of Native American congresswomen are headed to the House, in addition to two Muslim congresswoman.
Of those 4,800, 2,600 are in Texas and 1,100 each are in Arizona and California.
Those numbers will rise to more than 7,000 over coming days.
Last week, President Trump described "massive cities of tents" being built by the military that he said would house migrants seeking asylum.
Reuters was first to report that the Pentagon had balked at the initial request from the Department of Homeland Security.
Manning also clarified that Military Police (MP's) will be the only active duty forces to be armed during the operation.
"The costs are being determined by our Comptroller and when we are in a position to provide them, we will do that", said Manning.