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

02 November, 2018, 09:45 | Author: Angel Logan
  • Migrant caravan takes a break in southern Mexico

"We are going to hold them, we are going to build tent cities, we are going to build tents all over the place", he said, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP).

McAleenan said the aim of the operation was to deter migrants from crossing illegally, but he conceded his officers were overwhelmed by a surge of asylum seekers at border crossings.

Trump tweeted: "This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!" One U.S. official said the troops will be sent initially to staging bases in California, Texas and Arizona while the CBP works out precisely where it wants the troops positioned. He has drawn attention to a caravan of migrants that is trekking through Mexico toward the United States as he seeks to fire up support for his Republican party.

Trump railed against illegal immigration to win the 2016 presidential election and has seized on the caravan of Central American migrants at campaign rallies in the run-up to next week's vote.

It means that within days, the U.S. military will have more than three times as many troops along the southern border as it does fighting Islamic State in Syria.

Trump reiterated that he wanted to set up "tent cities" to hold people coming to the USA, including those seeking asylum.

He spoke alongside Kevin McAleenan, commissioner of Customs and Border Protection.

"Many Gang Members and some very bad people are mixed into the Caravan heading to our Southern Border", Trump wrote.

The active-duty deployment comes in addition to Operation Guardian Support, a National Guard mission launched last spring that involves just short of 2,100 troops.

Terrence O'Shaughnessy, the chief of U.S. Northern Command, told reporters Monday that the deployments, dubbed "Operation Faithful Patriot", already are underway. But there already is a bottleneck of would-be asylum seekers waiting at some USA border crossings to make their claims, some waiting as long as five weeks.

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

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 deployments thrust the military further into a political fight in which the president increasingly has sought to cast the migrants as a national security threat in the days leading up to the November 6 midterm elections.

The projected US deployment is already roughly the same size as the USA military contingent in Iraq. Although the troops will be armed, they are not constitutionally allowed to enforce immigration law, and are to be used only to provide logistical and other kinds of support to the Border Patrol - bolstering the approximately 2,000 National Guard soldiers already on the border. It remains hundreds of miles from US soil.

Perhaps Trump doesn't understand that it is legal for anyone on US soil, even if they arrived without documentation or authorization, to claim asylum and start a legal process that can end with them being allowed to stay.

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