U.S. Military Troops Deployed To U.S.-Mexico Border Dropped To 2,600 This Week

U.S Soldiers with 541st Engineer Company, Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force 7, position concertina wire on a practice barricade at Naval Air Facility El Centro in California, Dec. 4, 2018. U.S. Northern Command is providing military support to the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection to secure the Southern border of the United States. (photo credit: U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Asia J. Sorenson).

U.S Soldiers with 541st Engineer Company, Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force 7, position concertina wire on a practice barricade at Naval Air Facility El Centro in California, Dec. 4, 2018. U.S. Northern Command is providing military support to the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection to secure the Southern border of the United States. (photo credit: U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Asia J. Sorenson).

The number of U.S. military troops deployed to the southern U.S. border with Mexico declined further this week to about 2,600 service members, U.S. Northern Command announced in a statement released on Friday.

The troops were deployed to the border to support U.S. Customs and Border Protection operations to secure the U.S. border on Oct. 31 by President Donald Trump as a caravan of Central American migrants in the thousands made their way to the U.S. border to claim asylum.

At the height of the operation, 5,800 U.S. troops were deployed to the border.  The mission was initially set to end on Dec. 15, but it was extended to Jan. 31 by the U.S. Department of Defense at the request of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

This week, 550 U.S. troops were sent back to their home station.

According to Northern Command, 700 U.S. military service members are stationed in Texas on the border with Mexico, 700 in Arizona, and 1,200 in California.

The remaining 2,600 U.S. troops along the border will continue their operations on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but on a “light duty” role to afford them time to celebrate the holiday, according to Stripes.