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

An agent with the U.S. Border Patrol Tactical Unit guards the U.S. side of the border wall with Mexico in Brownsville Texas U.S

CBP Assistant Commissioner of Public Affairs Andrew Meehan said in a news conference Monday afternoon that there are approximately 3,500 people in one group, which is now at the Chiapas-Oaxaca border in southern Mexico.

"We will not allow a large group to enter the U.S.in an unlawful and unsafe manner", said 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 in the weeks before 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 president has made it clear that border security is national security", O'Shaughnessy said, as he detailed a much larger deployment that the 800 to 1,000 troops predicted by USA officials last week. The trip could be twice as long if the migrants head for the Tijuana-San Diego frontier, as another caravan did earlier this year.

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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.

Trump tweeted: "This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!"

Customs and Border Protection is pushing a surge in personnel in response to the caravan of Central American immigrants, which is still hundreds of miles from the U.S. border. More than 1,500 of the original group have applied for asylum in Mexico.

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.

"We're going to secure the border", Air Force General Terrence O'Shaughnessy, the Northern Command leader, said at a news conference.

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"Many Gang Members and some very bad people are mixed into the Caravan heading to our Southern Border", Trump wrote without providing evidence, doubling down on the hardline anti-immigrant rhetoric that helped fuel his 2016 election victory.

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

He is expected to hold 11 rallies in the days ahead of the November 6 midterms, which Washington pundits are characterising as a referendum on his presidency. The Pentagon says an additional 5,200 active-duty troops could join them. Those deployments, which primarily include military police and engineers, began Monday and will continue throughout the week, according to the document.

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

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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The projected US deployment is already roughly the same size as the USA military contingent in Iraq.

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