President Donald Trump said he is currently having discussions in his administration to deploy military resources on the southern border.
Making his remarks during a lunch meeting at the White House with the presidents of Baltic nations, as Gen. James Mattis sat beside him at the table, Trump said, “I’ve been speaking with Gen. Mattis. We’re going to be doing things militarily,” adding, “Until we can have a wall and proper security, we’re going to be guarding our border with the military.”
The president did not detail specific plans for policing the border but appeared eager to make it happen after Democrats stalled progress on his long-promised border wall.
“That’s a big step,” Trump said. “We really haven’t done that before, certainly not very much before.”
Trump confirmed in an afternoon press conference on Tuesday that he does intend to use military force to secure the border.
“We are preparing to have the military to secure our border between Mexico and the United States,” Trump said when reporters questioned him for more details. He said he would be meeting with Mattis and other security officials to discuss the issue soon.
The omnibus spending deal included less than $1.6 billion for border structures but an impressive $700 billion for the Pentagon in FY2018.
In a 2011 interview with Bill O’Reilly on Fox News, Trump signaled interest in using the U.S. military to stop illegal immigration. “You put soldiers on that line,” he said. “Do you have a choice? They are coming over and they are climbing over a fence and there’s nobody within 10 miles.”