Jan. 4 (UPI) -- The Department of Homeland Security wants to reinforce troops at the U.S.-Mexico border by extending deployments and asking for additional manpower to erect barbed wire and other barriers, according to reports.
The current deployment of 5,000 troops ends Jan. 31, but DHS said additional engineers are needed to finish installation of concertina wire, CBS News reported. So far, the military has built 70 miles of fencing.
In addition to the engineers, DHS is requesting aviation support to move troops around, medical personnel to treat migrants who cross the border and surveillance equipment. The focus of the deployment will be in California and Arizona.
The Pentagon will decide how many troops to send and whether they will be active duty or National Guard. The Defense Department is not affected by the ongoing government shutdown.
If the additional troops are approved by acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, the deployment would last until the end of September.
"The threat is real. The risks are real. We need to control our borders," Shanahan said. "We're doing additional planning to strengthen the support that we're providing to [DHS Secretary] Kirstjen Nielsen and her team."
President Donald Trump continues to hold firm on his request that Congress pass funding for more than $5 billion for a permanent wall at the border, or the partial government shut down will continue. He's said the concertina wire and other barriers are needed to stop the flow of crime and drugs through the border.
Thursday, the Democratic-led House passed two measures to end the shutdown. Neither offers any money for the border wall.