In a meeting with top national security advisors this week, Donald Trump discussed potentially increasing US military involvement at the United States-Mexico border to build migrant tent camps. As reported by NBC News, President Trump also enquired if the military could run the camps once migrants arrived.
This is currently prohibited by law under the Posse Comitatus act, which does not allow direct interaction between the armed forces and migrants, hindering Trump’s continued efforts to be tougher on immigration.
This would not be the first time tent housing was provided for immigrants, as President Obama provided temporary accommodations in Donna, Texas in response to an influx of migrants in 2016.
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said Friday that he expects there will be more U.S. troops deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border, as the situation there worsens.
“First of all, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that we’ll provide more support to the border. The way I tend to frame that is: Our support is very elastic, and given the deterioration there at the border, you would expect that we would provide more support,” he told reporters at the Pentagon before a meeting with the German defense minister.
The military has about 5,000 troops at the border — 3,000 active duty and 2,000 National Guard members.
Last week, the Pentagon awarded nearly $1 billion to two construction companies for border construction in El Paso, Texas, and Yuma, Arizona.
Shanahan authorized transferring the money from the Army to a fund that can be used to construct roads and fences and to install lighting to block drug-smuggling corridors across U.S. borders in support of counter-narcotic activities of law enforcement agencies.
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