Thursday, 22 November, 2018

President Trump’s border deployment could cost between $200M and $300M

Trump’s election-eve border mission puts the military in partisan crosshairs President Trump answers questions from the media on the South Lawn as he departs the White House in Washington D.C. on Friday Nov. 2 2018
Melinda Barton | 07 November, 2018, 22:54

This weekend, US troops continued to work along the border with Mexico, ostensibly to protect the United States from what President Trump has called an illegal immigrant invasion.

"Members who are deployed in support of the Department of Homeland Security's border mission are not eligible for imminent-danger pay", he said in a statement Monday.

During a Saturday campaign rally in Montana, President Trump said "Mexico is trying, they are trying but we're different, we have our military on the border", adding "And I noticed all that lovely barbed wire going up today".

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 disclosure by USA officials, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, illustrates the tension within the administration over using military resources to fortify the border against illegal immigration, a top election issue for President Donald Trump's base.

Military helicopters will take part in the mission, codenamed Operation Faithful Patriot - not to track down migrants, however, but to transport CBP staff to the border.

That, in part, led Banks to say the use of active-duty troops to defend against the caravan was unlawful on its own.

Construction units have begun building temporary tent housing for military units at some of the large bases serving as staging areas.

On Thursday, Trump claimed the military is putting up thousands of tents to hold migrants, but officials said there are no plans as of now to build tents.

However, ABC News has learned that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had made an initial request to the Pentagon "to hold" migrants seized along the border in tent structures, according to a US official. He denied widespread media reports that the military should engage in the construction of accommodation facilities for migrant families. The Department of Homeland Security disputes that characterization, and the story has been updated with DHS comment. DOD was tasked to provide logistical and medical support.

When questioned on the cost of the operation on Monday morning Pentagon spokesman Col Rob Manning said, "I don't have a cost estimate for you, the Department will absorb the cost".

It also follows remarks last week by U.S. President Donald Trump, who said that any rocks thrown by asylum-seeking migrants at the U.S. military would be "considered a firearm".