exican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador vowed while campaigning for office that he would “send the soldiers back to their barracks.” But what Mexico has seen instead during his administration is the military’s power grow and expand into unexpected areas.

López Obrador, who is also known by his initials AMLO, not only attempted to replace Mexico’s federal police with a new National Guard, but he’s put the military in charge of major infrastructure projects such as building a new airport, distributing vaccines and school textbooks, and clearing seaweed from beaches at coastal resorts. Even more consequentially, the military is now tasked with policing migration on Mexico’s borders.

These new responsibilities have come at a cost, however. According to the Statista Research Department, the Mexican government spent around $6.27 billion in the military sector in 2018, the year AMLO took office. That number swelled to over $9 billion in 2020 before dipping down to $7.84 billion last year.