WASHINGTON (AP) — Three U.S. officials say the number of military troops deployed to the southern border in support of the Customs and Border Patrol could be in the thousands.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a troop plan that was not yet completed and had not yet been approved by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.
The Wall Street Journal reported the planned deployment was likely to be much higher than officials had disclosed late last week when preliminary figures of 800 to 1,000 were cited. The Journal reported that the Pentagon plans to deploy 5,000 troops, mainly military police and engineers.
The troops are expected to perform a wide variety of functions such as transporting supplies for the Border Patrol, but not engage directly with migrants seeking to cross the border from Mexico, officials said.
–By Robert Burns and Colleen Long