Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

Trump escalates threats against migrant caravan

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 US Military Moving Equipment to Border With Mexico- Pentagon Chief REUTERS Adrees Latif
| 02 November, 2018, 09:46

The United States said on Monday it will send over 5,200 troops to help secure the border with Mexico, a far larger-than-expected deployment. A second group of about 3,000 migrants is at the border crossing between Guatemala and Mexico, he said.

Last month, USA 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.

In an interview Monday, Trump said the US would build "tent cities" for thousands of Central American migrants making their way through Mexico to the United States.

McAleenan, the CBP commissioner, said his agency was tracking a caravan of about 3,500 people moving north through southern Mexico.

Gen O'Shaughnessy said 800 troops are already on their way to southern Texas and their numbers will top 5,200 by the end of the 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.

Eager to focus voters on immigration in the lead-up to the midterm elections, U.S. President Donald Trump escalated his threats against a migrant caravan trudging slowly toward the country's border as Pentagon prepared to deploy thousands of U.S. troops to support the border patrol. The National Guard is often used by states to help with border security.

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

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 USA border. At least 1,000 caravan members have applied for asylum in Mexico, authorities say.


"If they apply for asylum, we are going to hold them until such time as their trial takes place".

General Terrence O'Shaughnessy, the head of U.S. Northern Command, said 800 U.S. troops were already en route to the Texas border and more were headed to the borders in California and Arizona.

He continued his threats on Monday, tweeting, without providing evidence, that, "Many Gang Members and some very bad people are mixed into the Caravan heading to our Southern Border". We're going to hold them, we're going to build tent cities, we're gonna build tents all over the place. But the core group of mostly Honduran migrants has rejected his entreaty and continued heading north toward the USA border.

The Pentagon last week approved a request for additional troops at the southern border. Those deployments, which primarily include military police and engineers, began Monday and will continue throughout the week, according to the document.

Trump denied his focus on the caravan is meant to help Republicans in next week's midterms, saying, "This has nothing to do with elections".

The projected US deployment is already roughly the same size as the USA military contingent in Iraq. U.S. Transportation Command posted a video on its Facebook page Monday of a C-17 transport plane that it said was delivering Army equipment to the Southwest border in support of the operation.

Trump said the United States would build "tent cities" to house migrants seeking asylum, rather than releasing them while they await court decisions.

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