Pentagon Declines Trump Admin’s Request to Build Detention Facilities

Trump’s election-eve border mission puts the military in partisan crosshairs

The supposed request was made at the time when a migrant caravan of mostly Central American asylum-seekers are heading to the United States in the hope to cross into the country.

By voicing its opposition, the Pentagon helped ensure that its mission was tailored to providing support only to government personnel on the border.

"We're going to have tents".

He has said that the total number of troops deployed to the southern border could ultimately be as high as 15,000. The officials said that while there had been informal talks between the Department of Defense and DHS about having the military build tent facilities to house detained migrants, tents were never part of the formal request for assistance submitted by DHS and approved by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis.

Active duty United States troops are barred from domestic law enforcement unless there is an emergency, but Trump has repeatedly raised the prospect of having troops enforce the border as he campaigns hard on the dangers of immigration ahead of the midterm elections.

"Mexico's trying, but I think maybe they could try a little bit harder", he said. "They're going to wait and if they don't get asylum, they get out", Trump told Fox News.

The soldiers are there as back up for Customs and Border Patrol agents.

Bush ordered Operation Jump Start, which lasted from 2006 to 2008, and deployed 6,000 National Guard troops to California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

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. He said they would not be taking part in law enforcement activities like crowd control.

The president has also indicated that USA troops may open fire on migrants who become aggressive.

As of Monday, US officials told Reuters that about 4,800 troops participating in the mission "Operation Faithful Patriot" are near the border.

Trump's push to send the military to the border comes ahead of Tuesday's mid-term congressional elections and has triggered sharp reactions, with critics calling it a political stunt that misuses us military resources.

However, Trump's effort has been embraced by Republicans running in the elections, in which illegal immigration is a top issue. The administration says it needs to harden border security as the Central American caravan heads north.

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