The Pentagon said it would build temporary housing along the southwestern border for 7,500 migrant adults facing deportation, reports the New York Times. It is the latest step in the administration’s efforts to respond to a surge of undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers trying to enter the U.S. The Defense Department will loan military-style tents to the Department of Homeland Security. The cost for putting up the tents — to be constructed near Tucson, as well as near Tornillo, Donna, Laredo and Del Rio, Tx. — will be determined after the Pentagon conducts on-site assessments over the next two weeks.
Detention centers at the border have been pushed to overcapacity from an increase of migrants, most of them from Central America. Officials also began flying migrants to facilities with more space in Del Rio, Tx., and in California. Acting defense secretary Patrick Shanahan said he intended to shift $1.5 billion that had been designated for the war in Afghanistan and other projects to help pay for work on President Trump’s border wall. That shift was in addition to the $1 billion that the Defense Department transferred to wall construction in March from the Army’s personnel budget. Shanahan’s acquiescence to the president’s efforts to use the military along the border is likely to affect what was already expected to be a contentious battle over his confirmation. Many Democratic lawmakers view the border wall as unnecessary and have expressed concerns about the increasing use of the military to help in the president’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers trying to enter the country. The Posse Comitatus Act, dating to Reconstruction, bars American forces from engaging in law enforcement activities within the borders of the United States.