Defense Dept. Sending 5200 Troops to Southern Border

Migrants wait in lines to receive donated food as others look on in Tapanatepec Mexico

Eager to focus voters on immigration in the lead-up to the midterm elections, President Donald Trump on Monday escalated his threats against a migrant caravan trudging slowly toward the US border as the Pentagon prepared to deploy thousands of USA troops to support the border patrol.

O'Shaughnessy said just over 1,000 troops had already deployed to Texas as of Tuesday, where they will carry out tasks like building barriers, erecting tents, and flying government personnel by helicopter to and from different locations along the border.

U.S. President Donald Trump has hardened his stance on immigration ahead of November 6 congressional elections.

But critics say Trump is overstating the caravan's impact in order to influence the upcoming mid-term elections. More than 1,500 of the original group have applied for asylum in Mexico.

General Terrence O'Shaughnessy, the head of U.S. Northern Command, said 800 U.S. troops were already en route to the Texas border and more were headed to the borders in California and Arizona.

On Monday, he tweeted without providing evidence, "Many Gang Members and some very bad people are mixed into the Caravan heading to our Southern Border".

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on Friday offered temporary work permits, medical care and other benefits to migrants if they agree to register with authorities and remain in the Mexican states of Chiapas and Oaxaca, far from the US border. About 600 migrants in the second group tried to cross a bridge from Guatemala to Mexico en masse Monday.

"We're going to put tents up all over the place", told Fox News Channel's Laura Ingraham.

Trump reiterated that he wanted to set up "tent cities" to hold people coming to the US, including those seeking asylum.

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The deployments thrust the military further into a political fight in which the president increasingly has sought to cast the migrants as a national security threat in the days leading up to the November 6 midterm elections.

The United States said on Monday it will send over 5,200 troops to help secure the border with Mexico, a far larger-than-expected deployment.

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The troops will join the more than 2,000 National Guardsmen that Trump has already deployed to the border. The White House is also weighing additional border security measures.

The Pentagon last week approved a request for additional troops at the southern border. The Journal reported that the Pentagon plans to deploy 5,000 troops, mainly military police and engineers.

"If you wanna wait, they don't usually get asylum". Please go back, you will not be admitted into the United States unless you go through the legal process.

Trump says that the USA was "going to be prepared" and that the migrants are "not coming into our country".

"These migrants need water, diapers and basic necessities - not an army division", Shaw Drake, policy counsel for the ACLU's Border Rights Center in El Paso, said in a statement.

The U.S. military still had no firm idea of what the operation would cost, he added.

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