Trump plans 'tent cities' at US-Mexico border

02 November, 2018, 09:43 | Author: Orlando Hughes
  • National Guard Border

"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.

McAleenan said the aim of the operation was to deter migrants from crossing illegally, but he conceded his officers were overwhelmed by a surge of asylum seekers at border crossings. "If you want to wait, they don't usually get asylum".

US President Donald Trump in recent weeks has repeatedly said more troops are needed to tighten border security, and he has made political capital of the caravan ahead of crucial midterm congressional elections that could see the Democrats regain some degree of power.

The massive deployment marks a sharp increase from initial estimates last week, when USA officials said about 800 active-duty troops would head south. Those migrants clashed with Mexican authorities determined not to let the caravan grow or be repeated.The new group, whose members called themselves a second caravan, gathered on the worldwide bridge leading from Tecun Uman to Mexico.

The migrant caravan has been moving slowly north from Central America and its numbers have been dwindling.

The Pentagon said it's sending 5,200 troops to the Southwest border in an extraordinary military operation.

Last month, US 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.

"If they apply for asylum, we are going to hold them until such time as their trial takes place". But there already is a bottleneck of would-be asylum seekers waiting at some US border crossings to make their claims, some waiting as long as five weeks.

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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 troops will include military police, combat engineers and others helping on the southern border.

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 U.S. military has already begun delivering jersey barriers to the southern border in conjunction with plans to deploy active duty troops there. "It's going to be the election of common sense", Mr Trump said at a rally in IL on Saturday night.

On Monday morning, he tweeted: "Many Gang Members and some very bad people are mixed into the Caravan heading to our Southern Border".

Mattis told reporters traveling with him Sunday that the deployment was still being worked out, but that the additional troops would provide logistical and other support to the Border Patrol and bolster the efforts of the approximately 2,000 National Guard forces already there.

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

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

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