US-Mexico border: Pentagon to deploy an extra 2,000 troops

The US is to send an additional 2,000 troops to its border with Mexico, the Pentagon has announced.

It will bring the total number of troops stationed on the southern border to about 4,300.

The Pentagon said the soldiers would help border-patrol agents, carry out surveillance work and install miles of razor wire.

It comes as President Donald Trump battles Congress for funds to build a wall along the border.

He says such a measure is needed to stop illegal immigration.

Mr Trump’s insistence that the lower house of Congress, now controlled by his Democratic opponents, include funds for the wall in the US budget recently led to the longest government shutdown in US history.

He struck a temporary deal last month to reopen government departments but has threatened to trigger another shutdown or declare a national emergency if his demands are not met. The current agreement expires on 15 February.

Mr Trump is expected to again highlight the issue in his annual State of the Union speech on Tuesday.

What is the latest?

The US defence department said 3,750 extra soldiers would be sent to the border, although many will replace troops already there. The first deployments took place in November.

“Additional units are being deployed for 90 days, and we will continue to evaluate the force composition required to meet the mission to protect and secure the southern border,” a Pentagon statement said.

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