Migrant caravans will be met with full force, says Pentagon

Aaron Brown
November 2, 2018

The deployment would represent a sharp increase from initial estimates last week, when USA officials said about 800 active-duty troops would be sent to provide assistance.

O'Shaughnessy said the mission of what's being called Operation Faithful Patriot is to harden the border in preparation for the caravan of asylum-seeking migrant families making its way north through Mexico.

Hundreds of Central Americans following in the footsteps of a thousands-strong migrant caravan making its way toward the US border crossed a river from Guatemala into Mexico on Monday, defying a heavy Federal Police presence deployed to patrol that country's southern frontier. We're going to hold them, we're going to build tent cities, we're gonna build tents all over the place.

"If you wanna wait, they don't usually get asylum".

Added to the 2,000 troops already at the border, Mr Trump's announcement means the number of United States soldiers on the southern border will roughly be the same as those serving in Syria and Iraq combined. The standoff at the riverbank followed a more violent confrontation on the border bridge over the river Sunday night, when migrants threw rocks and used sticks against Mexico police.

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 ahead of important mid-term congressional elections that could see the Democrats regain a degree of power.

The U.S. military has already begun delivering jersey barriers to the southern border in conjunction with plans to deploy active duty troops there.

A Pentagon spokesperson told the WSJ that any reporting on troop deployment figures is "premature", as planning is still underway, but some U.S. troops are reportedly already on their way to the border, where they are expected to serve until mid-December. The new crop of troops who will be deployed by Saturday will join the roughly 2,100 National Guard forces already operating - primarily in logistics and background support missions - on the southern border in support of U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents.

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The number of people in the first migrant caravan headed toward the USA has dwindled to about 4,000 from about 7,000 last week, though a second one was gaining steam and marked by violence.

A new group of Central American migrants wade in mass across the Suchiate River, that connects Guatemala and Mexico, in Tecun Uman, Guatemala, Oct. 29, 2018.

Under the Posse Comitatus Act, federal troops are mostly prohibited from engaging in domestic law enforcement activities.

His experience with the caravan had taught him one thing, he said: "The next time, I'm going to need a 'coyote, '" or smuggler.

Trump tweeted Monday about the caravan of several thousand Central American migrants moving through Mexico, saying no one will be admitted "unless you go through the legal process". Migrants would be given Mexico's version of a social security number so they'd be able to open bank accounts and carry out other actions that require the number.

Trump also said the group includes "Gang Members and some very bad people".

Mattis told reporters traveling with him Sunday that details of the deployment are still being worked out but he should have them Sunday night.

USA officials have told Reuters the support mission would be coordinated by the U.S. military's Northern Command.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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