Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told reporters that the soldiers at the southern border won’t be leaving until the job is done and the border is secure.
Shanahan — who was recently nominated to become Trump’s second official Secretary of Defense — spoke with reporters Saturday afternoon from the border in McAllen, Texas. During the gaggle, Shanahan explained that the troops at the border wouldn’t be leaving anytime soon.
“We’re not going to leave until the border is secure,” he told the Associated Press, “This isn’t about identifying a problem. It’s about fixing a problem more quickly.”
As IJR Red previously reported, the agencies designated to secure the border have been completely overwhelmed by the massive influx of migrants to the southern border. Many detention facilities operated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have hit capacity, forcing Border Patrol agents to release migrants into the U.S. on their own recognizance to return for their immigration court date — a court date 87 percent of released migrants never attend.
The soldiers deployed to the southern border have been assisting the overwhelmed agents of ICE and Border Patrol to maintain the security of the southern border and to help them fulfill their role, given the strain on their resources.
Shanahan clearly believes the deployment to the border is necessary to protect the U.S. Currently, there are 4,364 active troops and national guardsmen at the border working to put up barriers and assist ICE and Border patrol in logistics and transportation.
The acting Secretary of Defence noted that his end goal is for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) — which houses both ICE and Border Patrol — to be able to handle the situation on their own.
“What we want is for DHS to be effective and stand alone,” Shanahan told reporters.
For that to happen, Congress will have to act. As IJR recently reported, Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost recently testified and as Congress to increase their funding and change the laws that are making detention more difficult.
“Border Patrol can’t do this on their own,” said Provost. “I need Congress to act.”