Published: Thu, November 01, 2018

Mexican agents nibble at edges of migrant caravans

Mexican agents nibble at edges of migrant caravans

With just a week to US midterm elections, the Pentagon has announced it will deploy 5,200 troops to the Southwest border, and Trump has continued to tweet and speak about the migrants.

The operation, known as Faithful Patriot, is expected to involve more than 7,000 active-duty troops, the Department of Defense estimated in a press statement released late Wednesday.

They'll be stationed at an Air Force base and Army installation in Arizona, at several Marine facilities in the San Diego area, and in five locations in Texas, including naval and Army bases.

Behind them, a third group of migrants from El Salvador had already made it to Guatemala, and on Wednesday a fourth group of about 700 Salvadorans set out from the capital, San Salvador, with plans to walk to the USA border, 1,500 miles away.

The US president continued: "The Caravans are made up of some very tough fighters and people".

If 15,000 troops were drawn into the effort, it would mean there would be more USA troops on the border with Mexico than there are in Afghanistan, which has become America's longest conflict.

Trump has railed against illegal immigration, including several caravans of migrants from Central America slowly moving toward the USA border.

The migrants have not said what route they intend to take northward or where on the USA border they planned to reach.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has denied that the deployment of more than 5,200 active duty troops to the southern U.S. border is a political stunt to help Republicans in the midterm elections.


The military personnel would be on top of the border patrol and immigration and customs enforcement agents from other departments already staged there, he added.

Trump tweeted Wednesday that Mexican soldiers were "unable or unwilling" to stop the thousands of migrants moving toward the United States border.

Now more caravans have emerged.

Mexico's U.S. Ambassador - Geronimo Gutierrez - is blasting Democrats for saying everyone in the migrant caravan are all peaceful refugees seeking asylum.

"They don't want to go back".

During an interview with Fox News, one of the migrants with the caravan admitted he had been previously deported from the US for a conviction of attempted murder.

Trump's comments on Wednesday appeared to catch the Pentagon off guard.

The issue has incensed President Donald Trump, who has sought to make political capital by depicting the migrants as carrying out an "invasion" of America. "I believe you can have a simple vote in Congress or it's even possible, in my opinion - this is after meeting with some very talented scholars - that you can do it through an executive order". As part of that effort, the president has amplified concerns about the migrant caravan, which largely consists of individuals from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.

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