US President Donald Trump's administration may send up to 1,000 active-duty troops to the U.S. -Mexico border, officials said on Thursday, as Trump hammered away at the issue of illegal immigration two weeks ahead of congressional elections.
US Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in an interview with Fox News Channel that her department had asked the Pentagon for help to bolster its capabilities as it polices the border, including asking for "some air support. some logistics, planning, vehicle barriers, engineering". He and his senior aides have long believed the issue - which was a centerpiece of his winning presidential campaign - is key to revving up his base and motivating GOP voters to turn out in November.
Some respondents said they could understand why people in other countries would want to come to the United States, and one man expressed doubt that any significant number of them are "bad hombres", a term once used by President Trump.
Numerous migrants are fleeing poverty and insecurity in Honduras, where powerful street gangs rule their turf with brutal violence.
The caravan swelled dramatically soon after crossing the Mexican border on October 19, but sickness, fear and police harassment have whittled down its numbers.
It was not immediately clear if the new deployment would be comprised of active-duty troops or additional Guardsmen. And Trump, at rallies and on Twitter, has tried to paint the Democrats as pro-illegal immigration, even claiming, with no evidence, that Democrats had organized and paid for the caravan, which remains more than 1,000 miles from the USA border.
Mexico allows thousands of migrant women and children to enter the country
After making it to the muddy banks of Mexico, she said, "No one checked my documents", as Consuelo headed to a taco restaurant. But as of this moment, I thank Mexico. "If that doesn't work out, we're calling up the military, not the National Guard".
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The troops will not engage in lethal operations to stop the migrants.
The migrants, who number in the thousands and include many women and children, are fleeing poverty and violence in Honduras and Guatemala, and are trekking through Mexico in hopes of reaching the USA border. "They will not be allowed in". He said those trying to enter the U.S. That's almost double the asylum claims the USA fielded in 2015 and almost quadruple the claims in 2013.
The official said the troops would satisfy elements of a "wish list" for military assistance sent to the Pentagon by the Department of Homeland Security, the United States agency with responsibility for the border. Earlier this year, Mattis authorized Pentagon funding for up to 4,000 National Guard troops on the border.
Federal law prohibits the use of active duty service members for law enforcement inside the USA unless specifically authorized by Congress.
Trump told a rally crowd in Wisconsin on Wednesday that the military was "all set". "You're going to see a very secure border", he said.