President Trump announced Tuesday the U.S. military will guard the United States' southern border with Mexico until the U.S. has “a wall and proper security” installed.
Speaking at a meeting with Baltic leaders, Trump said he had spoken with Secretary of Defense James Mattis about the move, which he said would be a “big step” to combat a “caravan” of migrants from Honduras entering the United States through Mexico.
The “caravan” he mentioned is likely a reference to a group of more than 1,000 migrants fleeing Honduras into Mexico who hope to enter to the U.S. under an asylum claim.
It is unclear how many troops will be assigned to the border and whether any funds will be allocated to the diversion of military resources. The Pentagon did not immediately respond to VICE News’ request for comment.
“Until we can have a wall and proper security, we are going to be guarding a border with the military,” Trump told reporters, calling current American border laws “so weak and pathetic.”
“It’s like we have no border,” Trump said.
Border security has been a prime talking point for the president, who'd promised since his campaign that Mexico would pay for the wall. In the past month, however, Trump began floating the idea of having the military fund his long-promised barrier, after both Congress and Mexico declined to play along.
CNN reports Trump suggested the military budget after reviewing the spending bill he later signed. The bill includes roughly $1.6 billion for border-security measures like fencing — a disappointing sliver of the $25 billion the president had sought.
However, as Roll Call points out, it may all be hot air: A section of the U.S. code bars a U.S. president from using the military as a police force, unless Congress waives the provision.
Cover image: WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 03: U.S. President Donald Trump arrives for a joint news conference with Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid, Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis and Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite in the East Room of the White House April 3, 2018 in Washington, DC. Marking their 100th anniversary of their post-World War I independence from Russia, the three Baltic heads of state participated in the United States-Baltic Summit at the White House. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)