Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford told reporters Monday that U.S. troops deployed to the southern border are there to assist the Department of Homeland Security, and not "the actual mission of denying people entry to the United States."
What are the details?
Last week, the Pentagon announced it would send 5,200 additional troops to the U.S.-Mexico border in "Operation Faithful Patriot," a mission aimed to "harden the points of entry" as a caravan of migrants approaches the U.S. border from the south.
That same day, President Donald Trump posted on Twitter that "many gang members and some very bad people are mixed into the caravan," and warned that the U.S. military would be "waiting for" those seeking to enter the country illegally.
Many Gang Members and some very bad people are mixed into the Caravan heading to our Southern Border. Please go back, you will not be admitted into the United States unless you go through the legal process. This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 29, 2018
What did Gen. Dunford say?
Speaking at Duke University on Monday, Gen. Dunford said, "There is no plan for U.S. military forces to be involved in the actual mission of denying people entry to the United States. There is no plan for soldiers to come in contact with immigrants or to reinforce Department of Homeland Security as they're conducting their mission.
"We are providing enabling capabilities," he continued.
According to CNN, Dunford said the troops would be providing logistical support to the DHS, explaining, "so you'll see some soldiers down there right now that are putting up concertina wire and reinforcing the points of entry."
Also, the military is providing "both trucks and helicopter support and then also some medical support," Durham said.
The Hill reported on Monday that President Trump could order as many as 15,000 troops to the U.S.-Mexico border, which a study from The Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments estimates could costs as much as $110 million.
On Friday, former President Barack Obama criticized Trump for sending troops to the border, calling the action "a political stunt." But Obama himself deployed 1,200 National Guard troops to secure the border with Mexico in 2010.
Former President George W. Bush ordered 6,000 National Guard troops to the border during his tenure as part of Operation Jump Start in 2006 and 2008.