Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin approved the deployment of up to 400 troops to the southern border through Sept. 30, NBC News reported.
Austin in early May approved the deployment of 1,500 troops to the U.S.-Mexico border for 90 days to support the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
This is the second time part of the original troops’ mission has been extended. The deployment had been expected to end Aug. 8. The Defense Department (DOD) then sent home 1,100 troops and extended the stays of 400 others until Thursday.
“On August 24, 2023, the Secretary of Defense approved an extension of up to 400 personnel providing support to Customs and Border Protection on the Southwest border through September 30, 2023,” Pentagon spokesperson Lt. Col. Devin T. Robinson said, NBC News reported Friday.
The extension was announced despite some Biden administration military officials recommending the troops be sent home, the news outlet noted.
“DHS appreciates the extension of 400 DOD personnel who are providing support at the southwest border,” a DHS spokesman said in a statement.
“The support personnel are critical so that CBP agents and officers can get out in the field to securely, safely, and humanely manage the southwest border.”
The troops initially were deployed leading up to the lifting of Title 42, the COVID pandemic policy that allowed migrants to be refused entry to the country for health reasons.
The migrant crisis at the southern border intensified after President Joe Biden took office in January 2021.
There were 73,994 southern border encounters in December 2020, former President Donald Trump’s last full month in office. Since February 2021 and through July, an average of 145,000 migrants have been encountered at the border, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection statistics.
CNN reported Tuesday that the FBI is investigating a potential terrorist trafficking operation at the southern border which includes Uzbek nationals seeking asylum through a smuggler operation with ties to ISIS.
Charlie McCarthy ✉
Charlie McCarthy, a writer/editor at Newsmax, has nearly 40 years of experience covering news, sports, and politics.
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