Military Shifts Troops on Southern Border to Support 2 Entry Points

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CBP agents stand watch as U.S. troops handle concertina wire at the San Ysidro crossing.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents stand watch as U.S. troops handle concertina wire at the San Ysidro port of entry during a "large-scale operational readiness exercise" which briefly closed the border crossing on November 22, 2018 in Tijuana, Mexico (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Editor's Note: This story has been rewritten to correct multiple errors throughout caused by a reference to old information. The shift was due to a court ruling, not a crossings surge; and the CBP commissioner is Mark Morgan, not Kevin McAleenan.

The military has shifted 160 Army troops already deployed to the southern border region to entry points at San Ysidro, California, and El Paso, Texas, following a court ruling on asylum seekers, the Pentagon announced Friday.

The additional troops will be used to put up temporary barriers and also provide force protection for Customs and Border Protection agents, a Pentagon spokesman said in a statement.

The 160 troops are from the 687th Engineer Construction Company and the 519th Military Police Battalion, both based at Fort Polk, Louisiana, the statement said.

The shift of 160 soldiers, from among more than 3,500 active duty troops deployed to the border region, followed a Feb. 28 ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that blocked migrants seeking asylum from being sent back to Mexico to await court hearings on their claims.

The ruling, which went against the Trump administration's policy of returning migrants to their country of origin, was in effect for only a few hours. The 9th Circuit later issued an emergency stay on its ruling at the request of the government, in a case that could be headed to the Supreme Court.

In the interim, however, hundreds of migrants gathered at border entry points in hopes of being allowed into the U.S.

A decision by the Supreme Court on whether to hear the government's appeal of the 9thCircuit ruling is expected this week.

On Twitter Friday, acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan thanked the military for sending the troops to San Ysidro and El Paso.

"We will not allow unruly groups of people to rush the border, disrupt trade and travel, or endanger the safety of our personnel and the public," Morgan said.

-- Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@Military.com.

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