Trump Sends 5,200 Troops To Mexico Border As Caravan Advances

Hannah Rogers
November 2, 2018

The Pentagon is deploying 5,200 active-duty troops to strengthen security along the US-Mexico border in a bid to prevent a caravan of Central American migrants from illegally crossing the frontier.

USA officials last week said about 800 active-duty troops would be sent to provide assistance - mainly in the form of logistical support - to border guards working along the frontier.

The announcement comes as a caravan of migrants is making its way from Central America to the Southwest border of the United States.

But critics say Trump is overstating the caravan's impact in order to influence the upcoming mid-term elections. At least 1,000 caravan members have applied for asylum in Mexico, authorities say.

Air Force General Terrence O'Shaughnessy, head of the United States military's Northern Command, told reporters the 5,200 troops would focus on trying to "harden" border crossings and surrounding areas, with work done by combat engineering battalions with experience building temporary fencing.

He continued his threats on Monday, tweeting, without providing evidence, that, "Many Gang Members and some very bad people are mixed into the Caravan heading to our Southern Border".

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on Friday offered temporary work permits, medical care and other benefits to migrants if they agree to register with authorities and remain in the Mexican states of Chiapas and Oaxaca, far from the USA border. Those migrants clashed with Mexican authorities determined not to let the caravan grow or be repeated.The new group, whose members called themselves a second caravan, gathered on the global bridge leading from Tecun Uman to Mexico.

"We're going to put tents up all over the place", told Fox News Channel's Laura Ingraham.

The White House is also weighing additional border security measures, including blocking those travelling in the caravan from seeking legal asylum and keeping them from entering the US.

The president has stepped up his focus on immigration in the days leading up to the midterm elections.

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The troop deployment, one week before the U.S. midterm elections, appears to be the largest U.S. active-duty mobilization along the U.S. -Mexico boundary in decades and amounts to a significant militarization of American border security.

The troops will join the more than 2,000 National Guardsmen that Trump has already deployed to the border.

"If you wanna wait, they don't usually get asylum".

Trump says that the US was "going to be prepared" and that the migrants are "not coming into our country".

The troops are expected to perform a wide variety of functions such as transporting supplies for the Border Patrol, but not engage directly with migrants seeking to cross the border, officials said.

Eight hundred troops already are on their way to southern Texas, O'Shaughnessy said, and their numbers will top 5,200 by week's end.

The troops will include military police, combat engineers and others helping on the southern border.

The U.S. military has already begun delivering jersey barriers to the southern border in conjunction with the deployment plans. He said the caravans was "different" than those seen by the United States in the past, adding that they were better organized.

The caravan remains at least 900 miles from US territory, so its arrival is not imminent.

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