Mattis: Border deployment is "very good training" for troops

“The eyes of the world right now — certainly all of the Americans — are on you,” Mattis told the soldiers, adding that they are part of a “non-traditional” mission. “We’re here because of the number of illegals who say they are going to illegally try to cross into our country,” he said, apparently referring to the several thousand migrants moving north through Mexico.

One soldier asked Mattis what are the short- and long-term plans for the military mission.

Mattis said the short-term objective is to get sufficient numbers of wire and other barriers in place along the border as requested by Customs and Border Protection. The longer-term objective, he said, is “somewhat to be determined.”