Pentagon could send thousands more troops to US-Mexico border

Central American migrants try to force their way through a customs gate at the border bridge connecting Guatemala and Mexico in Tecun Uman

Central American migrants try to force their way through a customs gate at the border bridge connecting Guatemala and Mexico in Tecun Uman

Eight hundred troops already are on their way to southern Texas, O'Shaughnessy said, and their numbers will top 5,200 by week's end. About 600 migrants in the second group tried to cross a bridge from Guatemala to Mexico en masse Monday.

"They are incentivized to try to cross our border by the gaps in our legal framework and the expectation that they would be allowed to stay", said US Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan.

A Pentagon activation message for the operation distributed internally Monday states that Homeland Security has requested that the Defense Department provide support to the CBP "through the arrival and detention of the migrant caravan now traveling to the USA southern border no later than 30 October".

Trump railed against illegal immigration to win the 2016 presidential election and has seized on the caravan of Central American migrants at campaign rallies in the run-up to next week's vote.

President Donald Trump warned the "caravan of migrants" approaching the US-Mexico border Monday that the US military will be waiting for them when they arrive.

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The move represents a massive military build-up along the border, where some 2,000 National Guardsmen are already working to provide help to overwhelmed authorities. "This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!"

But any migrants who complete the long trek to the southern US border already face major hurdles - both physical and bureaucratic - to being allowed into the United States.

Additionally, officials were monitoring another group of about 3,000 people that had gathered at a border crossing between Guatemala and Mexico.

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. "We're going to put tents up all over the place. and they're going to wait".

The president has stepped up his focus on immigration in the days leading up to the midterm elections. But the core group of mostly Honduran migrants has rejected his entreaty and continued heading north toward the US border.

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"Many Gang Members and some very bad people are mixed into the Caravan heading to our Southern Border", Trump said. Those deployments, which primarily include military police and engineers, began Monday and will continue throughout the week, according to the document.

The Pentagon already has sent 22 miles of concertina wire to the 1,954-mile-long border, he said, and has enough additional wire to cover 150 miles.

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

Perhaps Trump doesn't understand that it is legal for anyone on USA 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.

The U.S. military still had no firm idea of what the operation would cost, he added.

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