The Pentagon announced on Tuesday that as many as 3,000 U.S. troops will be deployed along the southern border and will remain there until the end of September, 2022. This is a drop in numbers compared to the 4,000 troops that were approved to serve at the border during the 2021 fiscal year. These troops are made up of active-duty service members, as well as National Guard troops from nearly two dozen states, all working to assist Border Patrol with immigration enforcement. So far, the Defense Department has spent over $840 million on the mission.
The Defense Department has received a request from Homeland Security requesting that National Guard troops remain stationed at the U.S.-Mexico border into the 2022 fiscal year. Currently, about 4,000 National Guard troops provide some form of support along the border, and it is unclear how many troops have been requested to stay or for how long.
Governor Doug Ducey issued an emergency declaration and deployed the Arizona National Guard to the southern border to support law enforcement efforts, at an initial cost of $25 million.
A GAO report found that the Pentagon did not fully evaluate costs and effects on readiness associated with deploying troops to the US-Mexico border under Trump. The DOD developed rough, unreliable cost estimates and failed to fully disclose some costs, such as benefits for National Guardsmen and installation. DHS also disclosed that they would like troops to remain at the border for at least three years, though the mission is only approved through fiscal year 2021.
The number of U.S. troops deployed to the border to assist CBP is down from a peak of 5,000 to 3,600, according to a Pentagon spokesman. The drop has coincided with the expected end of Pentagon contributions to the border wall.
- The Pentagon confirms that the Defense Department intends to keep as many as 4,000 troops at the U.S.-Mexico border through October despite no signs of an actual crisis. Most military backup will come from the Nationa Guard, which cannot engage in law enforcement activities but will help monitor the frontier, provide logistics, and offer transport to CBP personnel. There are currently approximately 5,500 troops deployed to the border.
- U.S. defense officials state that the Pentagon is actively considering reducing the number of troops at the southern border by September and replacing them with members of the National Guard. This would bring the deployment in line with previous military operations at the border by the Bush and Obama administrations. There are approximately 5,000 active duty troops deployed to the border.