Pentagon Says Soldiers At Border Won’t Be Denying Entry To Asylum-Seekers

Trump’s decision to send active-duty U.S. military troops to the border between the United States and Mexico has been decried as a political stunt, planned more to influence Tuesday’s elections than the entry of immigrants still hundreds of miles from the border. Now the Pentagon is responding, saying that the soldiers being deployed — at estimated costs in the hundreds of millions of taxpayer funds — will not be denying entry to immigrants, nor are they even expected to be in contact with the asylum-seekers.

Donald Trump says soldiers will fire on rock-throwers
Photo Credit: Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian

According to KYMA 11, the forces will be, instead, be doing the manual labor to reinforce fences and placing razor wire. Troops will also be providing medical support.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford, speaking Monday, denied that U.S. military members would be serving a role of preventing entry or denying asylum:

There is no plan for US 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.

In fact, according to Splinter News, the Pentagon stood against the president’s initial request, refusing to order soldiers to act in law enforcement capacities by acting as “crowd and traffic control.”

This refusal, with the Pentagon agreeing only to send “air and logistics support, medical personnel, and engineers,” was reportedly issued on October 26th — almost a week before Trump declared that soldiers would be expected to respond to rock-throwing migrants as though they were firing rifles. He has also tweeted to suggest that military members would be actively stopping immigrants.

Though Trump has since walked back that claim somewhat, he has not admitted that U.S. soldiers are not expected to actually encounter migrants at all.

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