Trump plans 'tent cities' at US-Mexico border

Glen Norman
November 2, 2018

The U.S. military will send approximately 5,000 support troops to the U.S. -Mexico border, the Pentagon announced on Monday.

The deployment will create an active-duty force comparable in size to the US military contingent in Iraq, as Trump's administration draws attention to a caravan of migrants that is trekking through Mexico toward the United States.

"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.

The first group passed through the spot via the river - wading or on rafts - and was advancing through southern Mexico. It was unclear when the details will be made public.

"We are preparing for the contingency of large groups of arriving persons in the next several weeks", he said. One U.S. official said the troops will be sent initially to staging bases in California, Texas and Arizona while the CBP works out precisely where it wants the troops positioned.

Trump has spent the last week trying to call attention to the caravan traveling by foot through Mexico.

However, the move by Trump to halt a caravan of mostly Honduran migrants and refugees has prompted sharp rebuke from immigrant and human rights groups.

On Monday, he tweeted without providing evidence, "Many Gang Members and some very bad people are mixed into the Caravan heading to our Southern Border".

The US President said that those illegal immigrants who enter the United States and request for asylum will not be released as long as their cases will not be considered by the immigration court.

"We're gonna have tents, they're gonna be very nice, and they're going to wait, and if they don't get asylum they get out".

"We go for about a month, I stopped counting the days, we are helped by Almighty God and the good people you meet on the way", says this mother of a family.

"We're not gonna build structures and spend all of these hundreds of millions of dollars".

Republican lawmakers and other Trump supporters have applauded the deployment.

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 Southern Poverty Law Centre called the deployment an act of "defiance" that would not make the USA safer.

The troops will join the more than 2,000 National Guardsmen that Trump has already deployed to the border.

The number of troops being deployed is more than double the 2,000 who are in Syria fighting the Islamic State group.

Air Force General Terrence O'Shaughnessy, head of the USA military's Northern Command, told reporters the 5,200 troops would focus on trying to "harden" border crossings and surrounding areas, with work done by combat engineering battalions with experience building temporary fencing.

Additionally, the Pentagon is sending three helicopter companies with aircraft equipped with high-tech sensors and night-vision capabilities. They will include exactly how many forces are needed.

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