Pentagon: 5000 Troops Will Be Deployed To U.S.-Mexico Border

Pentagon: 5000 Troops Will Be Deployed To U.S.-Mexico Border

The troops, which are expected to initially be stationed at ports of entry, will be deployed to provide additional security as the so-called "caravan of migrants" pushes toward the US-Mexico border. A second group of about 3,000 migrants is at the border crossing between Guatemala and Mexico, he said.

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

Trump in recent weeks has repeatedly said more troops are needed to tighten security at the border, and he has made political capital of the caravan ahead of important mid-term congressional elections that could see the Democrats regain a degree of power.

Meanwhile, the Mexican government has been doing its best to get as numerous Central American migrants to stay in Mexico and apply for asylum there.

The massive deployment marks a sharp increase from initial estimates last week, when U.S. officials said about 800 active-duty troops would head south. The trip could be twice as long if the migrants head for the Tijuana-San Diego frontier, as another caravan did earlier this year.

US President Donald Trump has ordered through the Pentagon the deployment of no less than 5,200 troops at the US-Mexico border over refugee and migrant influx. The National Guard is often used by states to help with border security. "This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!"

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. We're going to hold them, we're going to build tent cities, we're gonna build tents all over the place. So said General Terrence O'Shaughnessy during a joint Defense Department and Customs and Border Protection press briefing Monday.




Initial deployments for the operation include soldiers from Fort Campbell and Fort Knox in Kentucky, Fort Hood in Texas and Fort Riley in Kansas, according to a Pentagon document obtained by The Washington Post. The Journal reported that the Pentagon plans to deploy 5,000 troops, mainly military police and engineers.

The first group passed through the spot via the river - wading or on rafts - and was advancing through southern Mexico.

Trump has been campaigning intensively for weeks, frequently hammering on the migrant caravan issue and stoking anti-immigrant concerns among voters.

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 US border.

Migrants are entitled under both US and global law to apply for asylum.

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 U.S. military still had no firm idea of what the operation would cost, he added.

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