Troops Deployed to the Southwest Border to Return Home by Christmas

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Credits: Joel Matinez/The Monitor via AP

The troops deployed to the southwest border will be returning their homes home stations as early as this week, according to Pentagon officials.

The Department of Defense recently sent more than 5,000 soldiers to the southwest border to help the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) stop a caravan of migrants from entering the country. The department called their mission “Operation Faithful Patriot.”

President Donald Trump requested the deployment of additional troops before the midterm elections. He called the migrants caravan an “invasion” of the United States.

In an interview with Politico, Army Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, the commander supervising the mission, confirmed that the Pentagon is set to drawdown its 5,800 troops at the southwest border. According to Buchanan, the soldiers should be home to their families by Christmas.

“Our end date right now is 15 December, and I’ve got no indications from anybody that we’ll go beyond that.”

Hardening ports of entry almost complete

Buchanan added that engineer and logistics troops, which are the largest parts of the deployment, will be returning home soon. The troops are finishing their duties of building base camps and reinforcing ports of entry for the CBP. Therefore, the presence of soldiers at the southwest border is expected to decrease rapidly.

Separately, Army Col. Rob Manning, a spokesman for the Defense Department, told reporters that the 2,800 troops already completed their mission of “hardening” immigration entry points in Texas.

In addition, Manning said there are also 1,500 troops supporting CBP operations in Arizona and California. The troops already installed 2,714 meters of razor wire obstacles in Arizona and 4, 145 meters in California.

According to him, some of the soldiers will return home before December 15. He said, “The bottom line is that our numbers will be commensurate with the capabilities that … CBP is requesting.”

Last week, Defense Secretary James Mattis clarified that troops’ mission at the southwest border does not include law enforcement. Their mission is “providing planning and engineering support, equipment, transportation support and temporary housing” for CBP personnel and their medical teams.