Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has approved a DHS request that will keep active-duty troops at the US-Mexico border until at least January 31.
The mission, originally known as Operation Faithful Patriot, was initially expected to conclude on December 15.
Thousands of troops will be spending the holidays at the US-Mexico border supporting border patrol agents as they deal with the arrival of large migrant caravans.
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has approved a Department of Homeland Security request that will extend the mission for active-duty troops at the border into next year, according to multiple news outlets. The “border support” mission, previously known as Operation Faithful Patriot, has officially been extended past the original December 15 end date to January 31.
There are currently 5,600 active-duty troops serving at the US-Mexico border. These service members are in addition to the 2,100 National Guard personnel that deployed to the border earlier this year. Troops at the border spent Thanksgiving there, and now it seems they will also be spending Christmas and New Year’s at the southern border.
Read more: Trump rushed more than 5,000 troops to the border to lay razor wire. Miles and miles of it.
It is unclear how many troops will be affected by the extension. Earlier reports suggested that only around 4,000 troops would remain at the border.
US military personnel at the US-Mexico border started the deployment erecting barriers and running razor wire, but following a clash near the San Ysidro point of entry, during which border agents used tear gas and other means to disperse migrants that rushed the border, some troops have begun conducting riot control training in coordination with Customs and Border Protection.
Join the conversation about this story »
NOW WATCH: What serving in the military taught beauty YouTuber Jackie Aina