- The Washington Times - Friday, October 26, 2018

The Pentagon said Friday that Defense Secretary James Mattis has signed off on the new troop deployment to the border, paving the way for hundreds of reinforcements to help with administrative tasks and infrastructure improvements.

The troops will not be involved in direct enforcement, but will provide support to Customs and Border Protection agents and officers who are out in the field.

Deploying them appears to be an effort to live up to President Trump’s rumination over the last week about sending the military to the border to try to combat the migrant caravan. But it’s not clear how the missions the new troops will perform would hinder the caravan.

Duties the troops will perform include engineering support for fencing, air transport for CBP personnel, and assistance with equipment.

The deployment is not the last word from the administration, which is also reportedly considering an executive action of some sort move to refuse to accept asylum requests at the southwestern border.

Tens of thousands of migrants, including as many as 7,000 that are part of the latest migrant caravan, have been streaming north hoping to exploit lax enforcement of U.S. laws to gain a foothold here.

One common tactic is to claim fear of being sent home, which if approved can earn them a chance to claim asylum. They are usually immediately released to give them the chance at full asylum — though half never bother to follow through, disappearing instead into the shadows as illegal immigrants, and others skip out on their hearings and likewise disappear.

There are already more than 2,000 National Guard troops on the border after Mr. Trump demanded them earlier this year.

This week’s request is in addition to those.

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

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