02 November, 2018
The deployment would represent a sharp increase from initial estimates last week, when U.S. officials said about 800 active-duty troops would be sent to provide assistance. 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.
The massive chain of migrants slowly making its way towards the US southern border, which is still some 1,000 miles north, is now demanding that the Mexican government provide transportation for its estimated 4,000 participants - demands issued amid reports of outbreaks of violence as more groups have forced their way through Mexico's southern border. They said asylum in the United States is their primary goal, but some expressed openness to applying for protected status in Mexico if that doesn't work out.
Earlier in the day, Trump labelled the caravan's effort an "invasion" and declared that the migrants would find the United States military waiting for them.
Among soldiers deploying will be Army Corps of Engineers personnel and three battalions of Army combat engineers who will focus on such operation as building temporary barriers along the border and constructing shelters to house a potential influx of CBP agents, O'Shaughnessy said. The standoff at the riverbank followed a more violent confrontation on the border bridge over the river Sunday night, when the migrants threw rocks and used sticks against Mexican police.
And with the upcoming USA midterm elections, Mr Trump has again turned his attention towards immigration in an attempt to boost support for his Republican party. Around 2,000 National Guard troops have already been deployed to the border, with as many as 5,200 more active-duty troops poised to head that way if needed.
That's in addition to the more than 2,000 members of the National Guard already helping at the border now.
The American Civil Liberties Union blasted Trump's decision to send troops, calling the move a political one to fuel "his anti-immigrant agenda of fear and division" ahead of the midterms.
Migrants walk along train tracks in Mexico. "If you want to wait, they don't usually get asylum". One of the riders died from a head injury although it is unclear how he sustained it.
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If an asylum seeker enters the USA illegally, they are still entitled to a hearing of their claim.
Drake added: "Sending active military forces to our southern border is not only a huge waste of taxpayer money, but an unnecessary course of action that will further terrorize and militarize our border communities".
"We've seen violence coming out of the caravan", O'Shaughnessy said.
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.
Mr Trump tweeted on Monday: "Many Gang Members and some very bad people are mixed into the Caravan heading to our Southern Border".
Under the Posse Comitatus Act, federal troops are mostly prohibited from engaging in domestic law enforcement activities.
Inside the United States, of course, a network of subversive leftist "resettlement" groups await the invasion force, hoping to provide sanctuary, then push the illegal aliens into jobs, the public schools and then onto welfare. USA officials have told Reuters the support mission would be coordinated by the US military's Northern Command.