Members of the U.S. military currently deployed to the southern border with Mexico are reportedly going to spend a month painting a one-mile stretch of the border wall in order to “improve aesthetic appearance.”
CBS News was first to report on an email they obtained, sent by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to members of Congress. The assignment to paint the border fencing was confirmed to CBS by a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official.
A congressional aide provided CBS the text of the email, which called for “an unspecified number of service members […] set to paint barriers in the California border town of Calexico.”
Members of the military deployed near the border have been assigned to spend a month painting a mile-long stretch of barriers to improve their “aesthetic appearance,” CBS News reports.
Rep. Joaquin Castro: “These are soldiers, they are not painters.”https://t.co/Wp7h9KslOt
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) June 6, 2019
This assignment would reportedly take about 30 days, the email said.
“While the primary purpose is to improve the aesthetic appearance of the wall, there may also be an operational benefit based on our experience with painted barrier in Nogales, Arizona,” according to the email, CBS reported.
The Department of Defense is to conduct the “application” of this task while CBP will pay for it, and the paint and equipment is estimated to cost about $150,000, a CBP official told CBS.
Troops have been deployed to the southern border for eight months, since October 2018, and are expected to be there through this September.
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has pointed out that troops will not be there “indefinitely,” but that the mission will likely keep troops at the southern border for a few years.
Approximately 4,400 U.S. service members are deployed to the southern border, a combination of duty troops and National Guardsmen.
The troops are strictly prohibited from performing law enforcement duties, but they are at the border helping build barriers and provide services to support Customs and Border Protection (CBP), as well as the Army Corps of Engineers, which is building the border wall.