Some in Congress have criticized the use of active-duty troops to perform the same tasks assigned to the National Guard. Both active-duty and National Guard troops are assisting U.S. Customs and Border Protection with logistics and other support. But apprehending migrants is not part of their assignment. The U.S. military is prevented by law from carrying out law enforcement duties within the United States.
Last week, around 2,400 migrants left a city shelter in Mexico City on their way to the U.S.-Mexico border, Reuters reported.
When Defense Department officials testified before the House Armed Services Committee last week, they didn't mention the upcoming troop deployment. Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., who chairs the committee, released a statement criticizing what he called a lack of transparency.
"I am deeply troubled that the witnesses did not disclose the upcoming increase in guard, reserve, and active duty personnel, even though we asked them multiple times during a two-and-a-half-hour hearing what would happen next on the border," Smith wrote, echoing concerns in a letter he wrote to Shanahan. That omission raises questions about whether the troop increase "is so unjustified that they cannot defend an increase in public," he wrote.