Mattis to send troops to Mexico border over migrant caravan

Mattis to send troops to Mexico border over migrant caravan

The action comes as President Donald Trump has spent recent days calling attention to the migrant caravan slowly making its way by foot from Central America into southern Mexico, claiming without any apparent basis in fact that "Middle Easterners" were among them.

President Trump tweeted Thursday he is "bringing out the military for this National Emergency". This week, members of the caravan were making their way through a border crossing in southern Mexico, crossing from Guatemala into Ciudad Hidalgo near the Pacific Coast - roughly 1,100 miles from the USA border, via the most direct route to Brownsville, Texas.

Three sources told CNN that the troops would not engage in lethal operations to stop the migrants, but are expected to help erect fencing and other barriers to stop the migrants. This would include a variety of things such as vehicles, tents and equipment, and perhaps medical support. There are 2,200 national guard troops now serving on the border; 1,145 soldiers in Texas, 115 in New Mexico, 580 in Arizona and the remaining 360 in California. The new troops would be active duty forces, the official said.

He said previous releases of asylum-seekers when they reached the US has spurred larger caravans to form. 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.

The troops are expected to be in position next week in advance of a possible arrival of some of the caravan.

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This deployment is separate from an ongoing National Guard effort along the border to support border authorities with technical assistance.

Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, recalled that when his group endorsed President Trump in March 2016, he received immediate pushback from top officials at U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Federal law prohibits the use of active-duty service members for law enforcement inside the US unless specifically authorized by Congress.

But Trump told a rally crowd in Wisconsin on Wednesday that moves were under way.

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