United States military personnel who have been deployed near the U.S.-Mexico border have reportedly been assigned to paint certain barrier structures to strengthen their “aesthetic appearance.”
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) informed Congress that troops are going to spend the next month painting barriers and that “the primary purpose is to improve the aesthetic appearance.”
“A disgraceful misuse of taxpayer $$,” Durbin said on Twitter. “Our military has more important work to do than making Trump’s wall beautiful.”
CBS News reported that lawmakers were notified of the assignment via email. DHS said that an unspecified number of service members would paint barriers in Calexico, Calif., a city located along the southern border, according to text shared with the news network. The assignment will likely take about a month.
“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,” the email read, CBS News noted.
DHS and the Pentagon did not return a request for comment from CBS News.
DHS focused on the benefits of painting border structures in its notification to Congress, noting that painting border barriers in Tucson, Ariz., helped Border Patrol agents combat “camouflaging tactics of illegal border crossers” who tried to escape detection, CBS News reported. DHS added that migrants appear to have more difficulty climbing painted barriers.
The Pentagon has sent thousands of U.S. troops to assist Customs and Border Protection this year. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told Congress in May that 4,364 troops are stationed at the border.
He also said that the military would not leave the southern border until the area is “secure.”
Do you agree with Senator Durbin? Should our military be there painting the wall?