Border

National Guard Specialist Joshua Smoak, a camera operator, sits inside a Mobile Video Surveillance System Truck in Rio Grande City, Texas.
DeJon WIlliams / Texas Air National Guard

For military personnel at the U.S.-Mexico border, including National Guard troops, it's an unusual assignment. Many are quartered in hotels, and their families are allowed to visit.

Thousands of military personnel were deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border in the fall of last year. At the time President Donald Trump said their purpose was to bolster security and help reduce illegal border crossings.

Brig. Gen. Walter Duzzny, the Deputy Commanding General of United States Army North, speaks to a group of border patrol agents after a press conference in Sunland Park, New Mexico, June 6.
Christina Westover / U.S. Army

During the eight months they've been deployed at the U.S.-Mexico border, military personnel have had little direct contact with the people at the center of the mission.

Concertina wire installed by U.S. Marines remains on the beach near the U.S.-Mexico border fence in San Diego.
Steve Walsh / American Homefront

President Trump is considering sending a new round of troops to the southern border. The military withdrew some service members from the border in December, after they laid miles of concertina wire – large steel coils with razor-sharp teeth.

An encampment that served as a hub for Army and Border Patrol activity now sits vacant near the Donna Rio Bravo International Bridge. It was cleared out in late December.
Reynaldo Leanos, Jr. / American Homefront

Thousands of troops who were deployed to the border in the fall have left, but the Trump Administration may call for a second deployment of thousands more.

Marines string concertina wire at the San Ysidro pedestrian crossing.
Steve Walsh / KPBS

More than 5000 troops have been deployed to the border, mainly to build barriers to harden points of entry. Most troops are scheduled to leave the border within weeks.

A military vehicle enters an encampment in Donna, Texas, just inside the U.S. border with Mexico.
Carson Frame / American Homefront

Active-duty troops are now at the U.S. border with Mexico, two weeks after President Trump ordered the deployment in response to a large group of migrants headed north from Central America.

Members of the Cal. National Guard stand silently as the backdrop for a news conference in El Centro, Cal. by the local head of Customs and Border Protection, Gloria Chavez.
Steve Walsh / American Homefront

In California - a state with strong differences with the White House on immigration policy - about 400 troops are on border duty. But they're keeping a low profile.