File Photo: A U.S. Border Patrol agent stands in front of the border fence that divides the U.S. and Mexico in San Diego, California, the United States, Nov. 17, 2018. (Xinhua/Zhao Hanrong)
WASHINGTON, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. Department of Defense announced a decision Monday to extend the deployment of active duty troops at the border with Mexico to Sept. 30.
Earlier in the day, the Pentagon also confirmed in a statement it would send a fresh contingent of active duty troops to the southern border at the request of officials from the Department of Homeland Security.
The new troops will include combat engineers to fortify border crossings and aviation units to help ferry border patrol agents, a USA Today report quoted a Pentagon official who was not authorized to speak publicly as saying.
The troops will also help with surveillance at the border, according to the Pentagon statement.
Currently, there are about 2,350 active duty troops and another 2,200 National Guard members at the border.
President Donald Trump requested the deployment of troops to the border just before the Nov. 6 midterm elections. Their mission was originally supposed to end on Dec. 15 but then extended until Jan. 31 as caravans of Central American migrants marched towards the U.S.-Mexico border.
The active-duty military personnel are meant to help strengthen the security of the U.S. southern border but they are allowed to provide only engineering, logistic and medical support.