In a meeting with top national security advisors this week, US President Donald Trump discussed potentially increasing US military involvement at the United States-Mexico border to build migrant tent camps. As reported by NBC News, President Trump also enquired if the military could run the camps once migrants arrived.
This is currently prohibited by law under the Posse Comitatus Act, which does not allow direct interaction between the armed forces and migrants, hindering Trump’s continued efforts to be tougher on immigration.
This would not be the first time tent housing was provided for immigrants, as President Obama provided temporary accommodations in Donna, Texas in response to an influx of migrants in 2016.
Acting defense secretary Patrick Shanahan, the former Boeing executive who replaced General Mattis, was at the meeting. Shanahan was not averse to increasing troops to support the border as long as their mission fell within the parameters of the law.
Department of Defense spokesperson, Lt Col Jamie Davis, said in a statement, “As we said last year when we were looking at possible facilities at Fort Bliss and Goodfellow Air Force Base, DOD could be involved in the possible construction of facilities to house immigrants. There are currently no new requests for assistance.”
This potential plan comes forward after it was reported that the Trump administration had considered busing detained migrants into sanctuary cities and Nancy Pelosi’s home district in an attempt to pressure Democrats into funding his border wall.
Other potential plans for the southern border include the building of a new processing center in El Paso, Texas, similar to the one in McAllen, where children were being kept in chain link cages.