- The Washington Times - Friday, November 30, 2018

With the caravans still camped out on the Mexican side of the border, Homeland Security asked the Defense Department on Friday to keep the latest deployment of troops at the border through the end of January.

The previous request had been slated to expire in mid-December, and a key general had suggested several weeks ago that troops would come home by then. But after a weekend of violent attempts by caravan members to punch through the border, and with thousands of members of the migrant caravan still eyeing attempts to reach the U.S., the Trump administration has concluded the troops are still needed.

“This request refines support to ensure it remains aligned with the current situation, the nature of the mission, and CBP operational requirements,” Homeland Security and Defense spokespersons said.

CBP is Customs and Border Protection, the agency that oversees the Border Patrol and the officers who man the ports of entry.

President Trump ordered the troops as he prepared for the arrival of the caravan.

Nearly 6,000 active-duty troops were sent, joining about 2,000 National Guard troops already at the border after a caravan earlier this year.

The deployment has drawn fierce criticism from congressional Democrats, who accuse the president of militarizing the border.

The troops are not engaged in arresting illegal immigrants or performing other law enforcement duties, and are instead confined to support roles such as ferrying agents, maintaining vehicles, helping with surveillance and hardening infrastructure.

They’ve been involved in laying miles of razor-wire in an attempt to make it tougher for illegal immigrants to circumvent out-of-date fencing.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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