Defense Dept. Sending 5200 Troops to Southern Border
02 November, 2018, 09:42 | Author: Mable Gonzales
It means that within days, the USA military will have more than three times as many troops along the southern border as it does fighting Islamic State in Syria.
Children of migrants wait for a ride near Tapanatepec, Mexico, as their caravan continues toward the USA border, October 29, 2018.
Last month, US agents arrested a record number of migrant family members along the border, and more than half of those taken into custody now are parents with children or minors traveling along, McAleenan said.
The escalating rhetoric and expected deployments come as the president has been trying to turn the caravan into a key election issue with days to go before the mid-term elections that will determine whether Republicans maintain control of Congress.
Worn down from long miles of walking and frustrated by the caravan's slow progress, some migrants have been dropping out and returning home or applying for protected status in Mexico.
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 Pentagon said Monday it is sending 5,200 troops to the Southwest border in an extraordinary military operation ordered up just a week before midterm elections in which President Donald Trump has put a sharp focus on Central American migrants moving north in slow-moving caravans that are still hundreds of miles from the U.S.
The move represents a massive military build-up along the border, where some 2,000 National Guardsmen are already working to provide help to overwhelmed authorities.
He added: "This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!"
Trump reiterated that he wanted to set up "tent cities" to hold people coming to the US, including those seeking asylum.
The Pentagon's "Operation Faithful Patriot" was described by the commander of U.S. Northern Command as an effort to help Customs and Border Protection "harden the southern border" by stiffening defenses at and near legal entry points. "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).
The troops will come from Army bases around the country, including Fort Bragg in North Carolina, Fort Riley in Kansas, Fort Campbell in Kentucky and Joint Base Lewis McChord in Washington state. The Journalreported that the Pentagon plans to deploy 5,000 troops, mainly military police and engineers. He echoed Trump administration concerns about the caravan and compared the border support mission to other domestic military missions, like hurricane relief.
Additionally, officials were monitoring another group of about 3,000 people that had gathered at a border crossing between Guatemala and Mexico.
But Mexican officials seem intent only on seeing the caravan melt away as it travels toward the USA border.
Migrants are entitled under both USA and worldwide law to apply for asylum.
The caravan remains at least 900 miles from US territory, so its arrival is not imminent.
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Many have said they are coming to the U.S.to seek a better life, which would not qualify them for asylum under US laws. Mexico's Interior Ministry said that temporary identity numbers have been issued to 111 migrants under the program.
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