Mattis to Visit US Southern Border Wednesday
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis is due to visit the U.S. southern border Wednesday, where thousands of American troops have been deployed to support border patrol agents.
Speaking to reporters Tuesday at the Pentagon, Mattis said there has been “no change” to the U.S. military mission “at this time.”
"We’re doing the obstacle emplacement, we do have helicopters down there,” he said. “We will have to see what the future holds, but right now that is the only mission I have.”
President Donald Trump called for increased border security to prevent a caravan of asylum-seeking migrants from Central America from entering the United States, declaring on several occasions its approach constituted a "national emergency."
More than 5,600 active duty troops and another 2,100 National Guard troops have moved into the U.S.-Mexico border area due to requests for help from the Department of Homeland Security.
A U.S. defense official told VOA Mattis will visit McAllen, Texas, where about 1,000 U.S. troops are deployed.
The U.S. troops assigned to help with border security are legally prohibited from engaging in domestic law enforcement, such as arresting migrants crossing the border.
Most Dangerous US States Might Surprise You
Alaska is by far the most dangerous state in the nation, according to the business website 24/7 Wall Street.
The most sparsely populated of all U.S. states, Alaska has the highest rates of rape and aggravated assault in the nation. In 2017, there were 117 rapes and 575 aggravated assaults for every 100,000 residents. Both of those statistics are more than double the corresponding national rates.
Last year's murder rate in Alaska was up 20 percent over the previous year.
New Mexico comes in at No. 2. There were 784 violent crimes — murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault — for every 100,000 New Mexico residents in 2017. That is way above the national rate of 394 incidents per 100,000 people.
With aggravated assault numbers that are nearly double the national rate, Tennessee ranks as the nation's third most dangerous state. Most of the state's violent crime is concentrated in urban areas, where the violent crime rate is more than 1,000 incidents per 100,000 residents.
Louisiana and Nevada round out the top five most dangerous states, according to the study. While violent crime declined overall in the United States in 2017, the crime rate actually went up in some of the most dangerous states.
To reach its conclusions, 24/7 Wall Street assessed data from the FBI, Department of Justice and the Census Bureau. Only cities with populations of at least 10,000 were considered.
On the other end of the spectrum, the least dangerous state is Maine, according to the report, with 121 violent crimes per 100,000 residents.
Other states that were deemed the least dangerous in America include Vermont, New Hampshire, Virginia and Kentucky.