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Photo: Guillermo Arias/AFP via Getty Images

Military troops that have been assisting in border protection at the request of President Trump will begin returning home as early as this week, Politico reports, with all active-duty troops expected to be back by Christmas.

The big picture: Trump ordered troops to be sent to the border as a caravan of Central American migrants began its journey through Mexico toward the U.S. and shortly before the midterm elections. The U.S. Northern Command said through a spokesperson that they are continuing to "assess the situation" and plan to continue supporting Customs and Border Protection until at least Dec. 15 as originally scheduled.

Between the lines: The troops may be leaving, but the caravans are still coming —causing U.S. officials to close a popular port of entry near San Diego.

  • Trump has insinuated that troops should open fire on the caravan if they get violent and throw rocks.
  • Army Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, in charge of the mission, confirmed to Politico reports that DHS had requested that troops back up Border Patrol agents in case of any violence at the border. That request was denied, Buchanan said.
  • Trump tweeted Monday afternoon an image of a border fence covered in barbed wire, saying, "no climbers anymore under our Administration!"
  • Reality check: Since the U.S. military has been sent to the border, 12.5 miles (of the roughly 2,000 miles of U.S. border) of fencing has been covered in barbed wire, a Homeland Security official told Axios.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 31 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci says he accepted Biden's offer to be chief medical adviser "on the spot" — The recovery needs rocket fuel.
  2. Health: CDC: It's time for "universal face mask use" — Death rates rising across the country — Study: Increased testing can reduce transmission.
  3. Economy: U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows — America's hidden depression: K-shaped recovery threatens Biden administration.
  4. Cities: Bay Area counties to enact stay-at-home order ahead of state mandate
  5. Vaccine: What vaccine trials still need to do.
  6. World: UN warns "2021 is literally going to be catastrophic"
  7. 🎧 Podcast: Former FDA chief Rob Califf on the vaccine approval process.
1 hour ago - Health

Bay Area counties to enact stay-at-home order ahead of state mandate

Golden Gate Park. Photo: Justin Sullivan via Getty

Counties around the San Francisco Bay Area will adopt California’s new regional stay-at-home order amid surges in cases and ICU hospitalizations, health officials said Friday.

The big picture: California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a three-week stay-at-home order on Thursday that would go into effect in regions with less than 15% ICU capacity. Despite the Bay Area’s current 25.3% ICU capacity, health officials from Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Santa Clara, San Francisco and the city of Berkeley are moving ahead with a shelter-in-place mandate in the hopes of reducing risk.

2 hours ago - Podcasts

Former FDA chief Rob Califf on the vaccine approval process

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is reviewing two emergency use authorization requests for COVID-19 vaccines, with an outside advisory committee scheduled to meet next Thursday to review data from Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech.

Axios Re:Cap digs in with former FDA commissioner Rob Calif about the EUA process, the science and who should make the final call.