Pentagon sending 5200 troops to secure border as mid-term elections loom

Migrant caravan takes a break in southern Mexico

A United States official said yesterday that in addition to 5,200 troops deployed to the southwest border with Mexico, the Pentagon has put 2,000 to 3,000 other active-duty troops on standby in case they also are needed.

Kevin McAleenan, the top US border security official, said the decision to send troops was not motivated by electoral politics but rather was a law enforcement necessity, as USA agents prepare for the possibility that crowds of migrants will amass and turn unruly.

President Donald Trump is escalating his threats against a migrant caravan traveling to the USA border, labelling the effort an "invasion" and declaring the "Military is waiting for you".

Trump, eager to keep voters focused on illegal immigration in the lead-up to the elections, stepped up his dire warnings about the caravans, tweeting, "This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!"

Additionally, officials were monitoring another group of about 3,000 people that had gathered at a border crossing between Guatemala and Mexico.

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General Terrence O'Shaughnessy, the head of U.S. Northern Command, defended the operation at a briefing on Tuesday.

"Many Gang Members and some very bad people are mixed into the Caravan heading to our Southern Border", Trump wrote.

But Mexican officials seem intent only on seeing the caravan melt away as it travels toward the U.S. border. 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 global bridge leading from Tecun Uman to Mexico.

"We're going to put tents up all over the place".

The White House is also weighing additional border security measures, including blocking those traveling in the caravan from seeking legal asylum and keeping them from entering the U.S.

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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".

"Sending active military forces to our southern border is not only a huge waste of taxpayer money, but an unnecessary course of action that will further terrorise and militarise our border communities", said Shaw Drake of the American Civil Liberties Union's border rights centre at El Paso, Texas. The Pentagon says an additional 5,200 active-duty troops could join them.

Advanced helicopters will enable border protection agents to swoop down on migrants, he said.

"If you wanna wait, they don't usually get asylum". But the core group of mostly Honduran migrants has rejected his entreaty and continued heading north toward the USA border. Those deployments, which primarily include military police and engineers, began Monday and will continue throughout the week, according to the document.

The projected US deployment is already roughly the same size as the USA military contingent in Iraq. He said the caravans was "different" than those seen by the United States in the past, adding that they were better organized. It remains hundreds of miles from US soil.

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