On Monday, President Trump warned the illegal caravan approaching the US border from the south that the US military was waiting for them.
The President tweeted: “Many Gang Members and some very bad people are mixed into the Caravan heading to our Southern Border. This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!”
US troops will be sent to Texas, Arizona and California as the Central American migrant caravan approaches through Mexico, Air Force General Terrence O’Shaughnessy, the Northern Command leader told journalists. The caravan of roughly 7 200 migrants is currently some 1000 miles from the nearest US border crossing at McAllen, Texas.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen also told the media that the caravan “is not getting in” and she added that they should turn around. “My general message to this caravan is: Do not come,” Nielsen said. “You will not be allowed in. … There is a right way to immigrate to the United States,” she continued, “and this is not it.”
According to the Wall street Journal, citing US officials, some 5 200 troops will be deployed to the southern border – up from initial estimates of 800.
The deployment has been named Operation Faithful Patriot with roughly the same number as those serving in Syria and Iraq combined.
Fox News initially reported that only 800 soldiers would be deployed to the border.
Following recent reports that the Mexican police had abandoned their own blockades to stop thousands of illegal immigrants heading for the US, additional troops are urgently needed to support the 2 000 National Guard forces on the US border as well as Border Patrol.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Sunday confirmed that the military has already started to deploy countermeasures against the massive Central American migrant caravan, the Associated Press reported.
Logistical assistance, including air support and equipment, vehicles and tents, will be delivered at the border. Trump said migrants seeking asylum will be housed in “tent cities” while they await court decisions.
“We’re going to put tents up all over the place. We’re not going to build structures and spend all of this, you know, hundreds of millions of dollars – we’re going to have tents,” he told Fox News.
“This will be the election of the caravans, the Kavanaughs, law and order, tax cuts, and you know what else? It’s going to be the election of common sense,” Trump told a rally in Illinois on Saturday night.
Vice President Mike Pence warned in a weekend interview with Fox that the caravan was being funded by globalists. “So the American people, I think, see through this – they understand this is not a spontaneous caravan of vulnerable people.”
The manufactured border crisis comes less than two weeks before the key November 6 midterm elections. According to Fox News, the caravan has been advancing at around 50km per day since leaving Honduras.
Last week, Homeland Security warned that gang members and those with “significant criminal histories” were also traveling with the caravan. Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are all controlled by gangs and narcotraffickers, with law enforcement either nonexistent or corrupted, USA Today reported.
Thousands of migrants have meanwhile rejected Mexico’s offer for asylum.