WASHINGTON, D.C. - Defense Secretary James Mattis is expected to sign deployment orders as soon as Thursday that could send 800 or more troops to the border with Mexico to help border patrol authorities stop a caravan of migrants from Central America moving through Mexico to enter the U.S., according to three administration officials.
The officials tell CNN final details are being worked out including where the troops will come from and their specific tasks.
It is not yet clear if all or part of the new deployment will be federally activated National Guard forces or active duty troops.
The troops will not engage in lethal operations to stop the migrants. Instead they are expected to provide fencing, wall materials and other technical support at several key points along the border where it is believed the migrants may try to cross.
The troops will also provide tents and medical care for border authorities in those areas. The troops retain the right of self-defense, but border patrol officers will still be the ones physically stopping illegal migration, the officials said.
President Trump hinted at the upcoming effort with a Thursday morning tweet..
Brandon Judd of the National Border Patrol Council is right when he says on @foxandfriends that the Democrat inspired laws make it tough for us to stop people at the Border. MUST BE CHANDED, but I am bringing out the military for this National Emergency. They will be stopped!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 25, 2018
The troops are expected to be in position next week.
This deployment is separate from an ongoing National Guard effort along the border to support border authorities with technical assistance.
That mission has approximately 4,000 personnel authorized but only 2,100 are currently in place according to the Pentagon.