Three weeks after President Joe Biden declared an end to the national emergency at the border, there is no word on when the thousands of troops deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border will be going home.
The mission is funded through the end of the year, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Thursday.
“I don’t have any changes to that mission to read out as a result of the president’s decision,” he said.
On Wednesday, Biden sent a letter to House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D, Calif., notifying her that the border wall should receive no further funding and its past funding is now under review.
But while Biden’s Jan. 20 executive order halted construction and ordered a review to figure out how to repurpose existing contracts, but it did not specifically call for redeployment of troops assisting Customs and Border Protection, mostly National Guardsmen.
Though the current cap is 4,000 troops, roughly 3,000 have been stationed along the border and construction continued in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
Troops have been helping with surveillance and staffing detention centers, though haven’t been arresting or overseeing migrants.
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Kirby also could not say whether the Pentagon would be able to recoup any of the funds it took from its military construction account to help build border barriers.
The Pentagon chipped in $11 billion from to 2019 to 2020 for the Army Corps of Engineers to award to local contractors. Of that, $3.6 billion came from military construction funding, pushing down the road some 100 projects that included training complexes and on-base schools.
About Meghann Myers
Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members.