Pentagon extends troop deployment along border

WASHINGTON – Secretary of Defense James Mattis has extended the use of active duty troops along the US-Mexico border until at least Jan. 31, according to multiple reports.

The extension was requested by the Department of Homeland Security. The troops, which have been deployed along the border in California, Arizona and Texas, have been performing support tasks for the Border Patrol, including installing and repairing razor wire barriers. They are prohibited by law from policing duties.

The number of troops is expected to drop from about 5,400 to around 4,000, according to the Associated Press. A Defense Department official told ABC News that the military may begin rotating different units in and out of the border deployment.

Some of the troops who are currently deployed are expected to be relieved on Dec. 15, ABC News reported.