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Mattis to send 800 more troops to US-Mexico border ahead of migrant caravan, reports say

U.S. Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis meets with Philippine Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., Sept. 18, 2018. (DoD photo by Air Force Master Sgt. Angelita M. Lawrence)
October 25, 2018
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Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is expected to sign an order that would send at least 800 additional U.S. troops to the U.S.-Mexico border.

The move is in anticipation of dealing with the migrant caravan from Central America that is traveling through Mexico en route to the United States, according to three administration officials, CNN reported Thursday.

The caravan of more than 7,000 migrants is trekking northward through Mexico with the goal of entering the U.S. Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico have failed to stop the caravan so far, prompting President Donald Trump to announce he would follow through with his threat and begin cutting foreign aid to those countries.

Trump had previously said that the U.S. military and border authorities have been notified that the incoming migrant caravan is considered a national emergency.

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“Sadly, it looks like Mexico’s Police and Military are unable to stop the Caravan heading to the Southern Border of the United States. Criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in. I have alerted Border Patrol and Military that this is a National [Emergency]. Must change laws!” Trump tweeted Monday morning.

Last week, Trump warned that he would “call up” the U.S. military to close the U.S.-Mexico border if the migrant caravan was not stopped.

“I am watching the Democrat Party led (because they want Open Borders and existing weak laws) assault on our country by Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, whose leaders are doing little to stop this large flow of people, INCLUDING MANY CRIMINALS, from entering Mexico to U.S.,” the President said.

He continued, “In addition to stopping all payments to these countries, which seem to have almost no control over their population, I must, in the strongest of terms, ask Mexico to stop this onslaught – and if unable to do so I will call up the U.S. Military and CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!

“The assault on our country at our Southern Border, including the Criminal elements and DRUGS pouring in, is far more important to me, as President, than Trade or the USMCA. Hopefully Mexico will stop this onslaught at their Northern Border. All Democrats fault for weak laws,” he had added.

Details of what the soldiers would do is being worked out, but they would likely help Border Patrol, CNN reported Thursday, as well as “provide fencing, wall materials and other technical support at several key points along the border where it is believed the migrants may try to cross.”

“The troops will also provide tents and medical care for border authorities in those areas. The troops retain the right of self-defense, but border patrol officers will still be the ones physically stopping illegal migration, the officials said,” CNN reported.

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President Donald Trump in April signed an order that deployed the National Guard to the U.S.-Mexico border.

Trump had said prior to that, that he was sending the military to guard the border until the wall between the U.S. and Mexico can be built. The move would help prevent illegal crossings, the President has said.

About 900 U.S. troops were deployed, and Trump had said he wanted between 2,000 and 4,000 troops deployed.

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