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  • A migrant from Honduras, part of a caravan traveling to the US, wears a hat with the US flag while he walks along the road to Huixtla, near Tapachula, Mexico, October 31, 2018.

    A migrant from Honduras, part of a caravan traveling to the US, wears a hat with the US flag while he walks along the road to Huixtla, near Tapachula, Mexico, October 31, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 31 October 2018

US president hardens his stance as the Nov. 6 elections approach.

US President Donald Trump said Wednesday he would send up to 15,000 troops to the border with Mexico to prevent the migrant caravan from entering the country, as the mid-term elections get closer.

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Trump and his government keep raising the number of troops that will stand on their side of the border. Last week the president said he would send 800 members of the military to stop the caravan, which he called a ‘national emergency.’ On Monday, the Pentagon raised the stake at 5,200 troops, only to increase the number to more than 7,000 later on to “support” the Department of Homeland Security.

During a press conference at the White House, Trump announced between 10,000 and 15,000 soldiers would join the 2,100 members of the National Guard that have already been at the border since April.

“As far as the caravan is concerned, our military is out ... We’ll go up to anywhere between 10 and 15,000 military personnel, on top of Border Patrol, ICE and everybody else at the border,” said Trump during his conference.

He also told reporters that his administration won’t let allow anyone in who doesn’t care about the country’s well being.

The troops are being deployed at the border as part of the ‘Operation Faithful Patriot’ and include military police, pilots, members of the National Guard and other security officers. Trump didn’t specify what duties they'll carry out, as current legislation prevents the military to stop anyone at the border.

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

Analysts and media report that Trump is trying to capitalize on the caravan’s issue to gain votes for the Nov. 6 elections in which the Republican Party will try to maintain control of the legislative chambers.

The president has treated the caravan as an “invasion,” to justify the use of military forces to protect their borders and has even claimed that “unknown Middle Easterners” are among the asylum-seeker Central Americans, trying to reach the US in order to commit terrorist acts.

“This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!," the president said on Monday.

A caravan of Central American migrants estimated to number at least 3,500 people left Honduras in mid-October and is now in southern Mexico on its way to the US border.

On Monday, teleSUR cameras filmed a Mexican helicopter flying surprisingly low, harassing migrants that were trying to cross the Suchiate river into Mexico.

Since then, other Central American US-bound caravans have followed their example and are finding their way through Central America and Mexico. Some of the migrants have accepted Mexico’s offer for temporary residence.


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