About 300 active-duty troops were moved to California in the last few days to bolster border protection as large numbers of migrants hoping to seek asylum in the United States gather in Tijuana, Mexico, Stars and Stripes reported Tuesday.
Troops were shifted from Texas and Arizona to California’s southern border with Mexico after military and Customs and Border Patrol officials determined military police, engineering and logistics units were needed to support shifting needs, the Army said.
About 1,800 of the 5,600 active-duty troops deployed to the southwest border with Mexico are now in California, numbers provided by the Army indicate, Stars and Stripes reported.
About 2,400 are in Texas and the remaining 1,400 are in Arizona.
About 5,000 asylum seekers from Central America arrived last week in Tijuana.
Demonstrations on Sunday took place on both sides of the border near San Diego and resulted in officials temporarily closing the San Ysidro Port of Entry. In response to the protests, military engineers moved barricades and military police backed up other law enforcement agencies at the border, according to the U.S. Northern Command, Stars and Stripes reported.
Border Patrol agents fired tear gas into the crowds.
Army Capt. Guster Cunningham III, a spokesman for the task force on the ground with the Border Patrol mission, said military police only step in after Border Patrol, other federal law enforcement personnel, and state personnel, including National Guard and local law enforcement resources, are utilized “so as to preclude [the Defense Department] being a first line of contact with migrants.”
The military service members deployed at the border are expected to be home by Dec. 15, the Defense Department says, Stars and Stripes reported.
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