Trump plans 'tent cities' at US-Mexico border

Erika Holt
November 2, 2018

The head of U.S. Northern Command expects that additional active duty troops will supplement the 5,239 already slated to deploy in support of the Trump administration's efforts to stop a migrant caravan making its way through Mexico.

O'Shaughnessy also said 800 soldiers are already on their way to Texas, and that in total, over 5,200 soldiers will be deployed to the southern border at DHS' request.

In an interview Monday, Trump said the USA would build "tent cities" for thousands of Central American migrants making their way through Mexico to the United States.

And with the upcoming United States midterm elections, Mr Trump has again turned his attention towards immigration in an attempt to boost support for his Republican party.

The Homeland Security and Defense Departments announced the deployment of thousands of troops to the Southwest U.S. border in anticipation of the arrival of large migrant caravans. On Tuesday, he stepped up his dire warnings, calling the band of migrants fleeing poverty and violence in Central America an "invasion". On Monday he said he wants build tent cities to house asylum seekers, and on Tuesday he floated the possibility of ending the constitutional right to US citizenship for babies born in the country to non-citizens.

Officials on Monday played down any political motive, saying that it was about safety and deterring the caravan of around 3,500 migrants which is heading to the border.

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More than a thousand Honduran migrants broke through a Guatemalan police cordon to reach the river the day before, attempting to join a larger caravan walking toward the United States border.

Before Gen O'Shaughnessy spoke at Monday's news conference, US Customs and Border Protection commissioner Kevin McAleenan told reporters the migrants were estimated to be several weeks away from reaching the US border. O'Shaughnessy, Commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command provides guidance during a planning and operational update briefing, October 28, 2018.

We're going to hold them, we're going to build tent cities, we're gonna build tents all over the place. Others joined it in southern Mexico. On Monday, more than 100 migrants lined up at a gas station parking lot to wait for rides. That followed a more violent confrontation on the border bridge over the river Sunday night, when migrants threw rocks and used sticks against Mexico police.

More forces will continue to deploy to Texas, Arizona, and California by the end of the week and New Mexico is expected to receive forces as well in the future.

He added: "The President has made it clear that border security is national security". Unless Congress specifically authorizes it, military personnel can't have direct contact with civilians, including immigrants, said Scott R. Anderson of The Brookings Institution.

McAleenan said those who manage to make it into the USA will be apprehended and their asylum requests considered, as required by US law. Officials confirmed that the troops who would normally carry weapons will bring their weapons with them to the border. US officials have told Reuters the support mission would be coordinated by the USA military's Northern Command.

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