MCALLEN, Texas (AP) – The Latest on acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan’s visit to the U.S.-Mexico border (all times local):
Acting Defense Secretary has offered assurances to perhaps two dozen Border Patrol agents and other officials at the McAllen Border Patrol Station in Texas that the Pentagon won’t withdraw its military support prematurely.
He says “we’re not going to leave until the border is secure.” Shanahan also says “this isn’t about identifying a problem. It’s about fixing a problem more quickly.”
Shanahan told Congress this past week that there are 4,364 military troops on the border, including active-duty and National Guard.
They are erecting barriers, providing logistics and transportation service and other activities in support of Customs and Border Protection. The troops are prohibited from performing law enforcement duties.
Troops have been deployed on the border since last October and are committed to being there through September.
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan says he intends to accelerate planning to secure the U.S.-Mexican border and bolster the Homeland Security Department’s ability to do its mission without continuous military help.
Shanahan arrived in McAllen, Texas, for a border visit. He plans to see firsthand how the military’s assistance is working and to talk to troops and others involved in border operations about the challenges they face.
Shortfalls in personnel and other resources have led DHS to periodically ask for the military’s help on the border, without a plan for how to fix the underlying resource problems.
Shanahan dismisses any suggestion that active-duty forces will continue that mission for the long haul. They’ve been deployed on the border since last October and are committed to being there through September.