The US Defence Department announced on Monday it would deploy around 320 additional troops to the southern border with Mexico. Troops will support the immigration officials and will add to around 2,900 active duty military and 2,000 National Guard members currently posted to the border. “In any situation that requires DoD personnel to be in proximity to migrants, DHS (Department of Homeland Security) law enforcement personnel will be present to conduct all custodial and law enforcement functions,” Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jamie Davis said. However, the troops are not tasked to perform any law enforcement functions.
Earlier, President Donald Trump had renewed his threat to send more troops to the U.S.-Mexico border following an incident in which Mexican soldiers confronted U.S. personnel. Mexico blamed the incident on confusion, and said it was not looking for confrontation with the U.S. In morning tweets, Trump said that, “Mexico’s Soldiers recently pulled guns on our National Guard Soldiers,” claiming, without evidence, that it was done “probably as a diversionary tactic for drug smugglers on the Border.” “Better not happen again!” he added.
“We are now sending ARMED SOLDIERS to the Border. Mexico is not doing nearly enough in apprehending & returning!” Trump last year dispatched U.S. troops to the border to assist border personnel in response to several caravans of Central American migrants travelling through Mexico in hopes of reaching the U.S. Many are already armed.
Earlier this month, two U.S. soldiers in a remote area of Texas were confronted by Mexican soldiers who thought the Americans had crossed into Mexico.
The Mexican troops reportedly removed a weapon from one of the American soldiers.