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Pentagon moving 250 active-duty troops to Eagle Pass, Texas, because of migrant caravan

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By Courtney Kube and Carol E. Lee

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon is moving 250 active duty troops to the border town of Eagle Pass, Texas, in advance of the arrival of a new caravan of migrants, according to a statement Wednesday by Defense Department spokesperson Capt. Bill Speaks.

The move reflects President Donald Trump’s mention of a “human wall,” but comes amid increasing frustration among Pentagon leaders with the continued border requests from Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

Under the new directive, the troops will be moved from Arizona to Texas and — in a sign of the Pentagon’s frustrations — will not represent an increase in the overall number of U.S. troops assigned to the border mission.

In an updated statement Wednesday afternoon, the Pentagon said not all the troops would be coming from Arizona. A defense official said the engineers will deploy from Georgia and Kansas.

Nielsen said in a statement Tuesday that a caravan of 2,000 immigrants was approaching the Texas border, and that the Department of Homeland Security will “take all steps to ensure the safety and security of law enforcement personnel” at the border.

She asked Customs and Border Protection on Monday for forces to reinforce the area where the caravan may attempt to cross into the U.S.

Earlier this week, the Texas Department of Public Safety sent state troopers to Eagle Pass in advance of the caravan’s arrival.

“Acting Secretary of Defense Shanahan has authorized the repositioning of approximately 250 active duty military personnel from current border security support missions in Arizona to the vicinity of the Eagle Pass [Ports of Entry],” Speaks said in the statement. “This support is being provided under existing authorities and in accordance with previously approved requests for support.”

Trump tweeted about sending military personnel to the border Tuesday morning: “Tremendous numbers of people are coming up through Mexico in the hopes of flooding our Southern Border. We have sent additional military. We will build a Human Wall if necessary. If we had a real Wall, this would be a non-event!”

The additional troops will be military police, medical personnel, and engineers who will support hardening the ports of entry, according to the Pentagon’s statement.

The Pentagon has about 2,400 active-duty troops deployed to the border mission now, with that number expected to increase later this month.

Pentagon leaders are growing tired of the continued stream of border requests coming in from DHS, according to one current and one former official familiar with the discussions. There’s a real loss of patience for it in the building, the sources told NBC News.

A phrase increasingly heard around the Pentagon is, “We don’t work for Kirstjen Nielsen,” according to the two officials.

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Buttigieg goes from cordial to critical of Pence on campaign

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By Associated Press

WASHINGTON — On the campaign trail, Democratic presidential contender Pete Buttigieg blasts Vice President Mike Pence’s cultural and religious conservatism. But as the mayor of Indiana’s fourth largest city, his tone toward the state’s Republican former governor was more muted.

During the four years in which they overlapped in Indiana politics, Buttigieg, the South Bend mayor, had a cordial relationship with Pence. The two collaborated on economic development issues. Buttigieg presented Pence with a South Bend promotional T-shirt that said “I (heart) SB.” And at ceremonial events, Pence would lavish Buttigieg with praise.

The relationship between the two men has come under scrutiny as Buttigieg’s campaign becomes a surprise hit, raking in $7 million during the first quarter. As he formally launches his White House campaign on Sunday, the gay mayor has emerged as a celebrated voice for LGBTQ equality and religious tolerance. And Buttigieg has hardened his rhetoric toward Pence, using President Donald Trump’s vice president as a foil representing an oppressive opposition.



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Labour is MISCHIEF!’  MEP Daniel Hannan reveals Labour plot to SABOTAGE Brexit

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LABOUR only represents the worst possible outcome for Brexit, Daniel Hannan has warned.

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Trump advisers discussed whether military could build and run migrant detention camps

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By Courtney Kube and Julia Ainsley

WASHINGTON — When some of President Donald Trump’s top national security advisers gathered at the White House Tuesday night to talk about the surge of immigrants across the southern border, they discussed increasing the U.S. military’s involvement in the border mission, including whether the military could be used to build tent city detention camps for migrants, according to three U.S. officials familiar with the conversations.

During the meeting, the officials also discussed whether the U.S. military could legally run the camps once the migrants are housed there, a move the three officials said was very unlikely since U.S. law prohibits the military from directly interacting with migrants. The law has been a major limitation for Trump, who wants to engage troops in his mission to get tougher on immigration.

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan was at the White House meeting Tuesday night and was open to sending more U.S. troops to support the border mission, so long as their assigned mission is within the law, according to the three U.S. officials.

Thousands of troops are currently deployed along the southern border, and are mainly used for reinforcing existing fencing with barbed wire.

Potential new projects for the troops that were mentioned Tuesday, according to the three officials — two from the Pentagon and one from Homeland Security — also included conducting assessments of the land before the construction of new tent cities in El Paso and Donna, Texas. They would also be used in assessments before construction of a new central processing center for migrants in El Paso, said the DHS official.

The creation of the processing center was announced last month. It is being designed to temporarily detain arriving immigrants, many of whom are being released in El Paso due to the lack of detention space.

The processing center will be similar to one currently used in McAllen, Texas, where children were kept in chain-link areas, which some called “cages,” while the Trump administration’s family separation policy was in effect last summer, according to two Customs and Border Protection officials.

The tent cities would hold immigrants while Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facilities continue to be at capacity. The Obama administration also used tents to hold immigrants in Donna, Texas, in 2016.

The idea has trickled down into planning meetings held this week at DHS, one of the officials said.

Discussions this week, at the White House meeting and afterward, have included the suggestion that troops may be needed to run the tent city detention camps once immigrants are being housed there, according to the U.S. officials familiar with the conversations.

The Posse Comitatus Act prohibits the use of federal troops for domestic law enforcement inside the U.S. This prevents them from direct interaction with immigrants crossing into the country. One U.S. official said recent meetings have included discussions about whether using active duty troops to run a detention camp would be a violation of Posse Comitatus.

While there has been discussion of an increase in troops, no specific numbers have been mentioned, and officials do not expect a large number of additional troops to be needed for any new mission.

A U.S. border patrol official speaking on the condition of anonymity said the military allows for faster construction than private contractors, who can protest decisions and slow down the process.

“The importance of DOD is that they are able to mobilize quickly because we face an immediate crisis now,” said the border patrol official.

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As an example of the crisis, the border patrol official said on Tuesday, 253 Central Americans, mainly families were stopped in Santa Teresa, New Mexico. Large groups present a challenge for border agents who must process, shelter and often find medical care for immigrants.

The border patrol official said he is not aware of plans to use troops to run detention facilities for migrants and noted it would be in violation of U.S. law.

The White House meeting came just two days after Trump tweeted that his secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, was leaving and that Kevin McAleenan, the CBP commissioner, would replace her as acting secretary. DHS Acting Deputy Secretary Claire Grady has also resigned.

On Wednesday, during a visit to Texas, Trump spoke about increasing the number of U.S. troops assigned to the border mission and alluded to the limitations to using active duty troops there.

“I’m going to have to call up more military. Our military, don’t forget, can’t act like a military would act. Because if they got a little rough, everybody would go crazy. … Our military can’t act like they would normally act. … They have all these horrible laws that the Democrats won’t change. They will not change them.”

DHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In a statement, Defense Department spokesperson Lt. Col. Jamie Davis, said: “As we said last year when we were looking at possible facilities at Fort Bliss and Goodfellow Air Force Base, DOD could be involved in the possible construction of facilities to house immigrants. There are currently no new requests for assistance.”



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