WASHINGTON DC. Donald Trump is to deploy more than 5,200 troops to the border with Mexico in what human rights organisations describe as an abuse of the military to “further his anti-immigrant agenda of fear and division”.
The announcement, just days before the midterm elections, came as Mexico also cracked down on migrants attempting to cross its own porous southern border.
General Terrence O’Shaughnessy, the head of US northern command, said 800 US troops were already en route to the Texas border and 5,200 would be headed to the south-west region by the end of the week, far higher than the 800 to 1,000 initially forecast.
“That is just the start of this operation,” O’Shaughnessy told reporters. “We will continue to adjust the number and inform you of those. But please know that is in addition to the 2,092 that are already employed from our national guard troops.”
The troops will provide “mission-enhancing capabilities” at ports of entry in Texas, Arizona and California, officials added, and will be armed. They will also have use of helicopters with night-vision capabilities and sensors.
Donald Trump, who stoked anger and fear over illegal immigration on his way to winning the 2016 presidential election, has seized on the caravan at campaign rallies ahead of next week’s midterm polls, hoping the issue will again fire up his core support.
Mexican Migrants Caravan:
On Monday he warned that the military would be waiting. “Many Gang Members and some very bad people are mixed into the Caravan heading to our Southern Border,” Trump tweeted. “Please go back, you will not be admitted into the United States unless you go through the legal process. This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!” he added