Migrant caravan demands transport as new group enters Mexico
- Author: Rogelio Becker Nov 02, 2018,
Nov 02, 2018, 1:00
The massive deployment marks a sharp increase from initial estimates last week, when USA officials said about 800 active-duty troops would head south.
McAleenan said the aim of the operation was to deter migrants from crossing illegally, but he conceded his officers were overwhelmed by a surge of asylum seekers at border crossings.
The massive chain of migrants slowly making its way towards the USA southern border, which is still some 1,000 miles north, is now demanding that the Mexican government provide transportation for its estimated 4,000 participants - demands issued amid reports of outbreaks of violence as more groups have forced their way through Mexico's southern border.
"We're going to put tents up all over the place".
"If you wanna wait, they don't usually get asylum".
The Pentagon is sending up to 5,200 troops to the border with Mexico to cope with an expected migrant influx.
"Many Gang Members and some very bad people are mixed into the Caravan heading to our Southern Border", Trump wrote without providing evidence, doubling down on the hardline anti-immigrant rhetoric that helped fuel his 2016 election victory.
A Pentagon spokesperson told the WSJ that any reporting on troop deployment figures is "premature", as planning is still underway, but some United States troops are reportedly already on their way to the border, where they are expected to serve until mid-December.
"What I can confirm is there will be additional force over and above the 5,239", U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command head Gen. Terrence O'Shaughnessy told reporters, according to The Hill.
Outgoing Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto had announced his "You are at home" plan, which offers "shelter, medical attention, schooling and jobs to Central Americans in Chiapas and Oaxaca states if migrants apply, calling it a first step toward permanent refugee status". And on Monday, the Federal Police aggressively tried to turn back hundreds more migrants who crossed the Suchiate River to enter Mexico from Guatemala. One of the riders died from a head injury although it is unclear how he sustained it.
The Guatemalan government said in a statement that it regretted that the migrants passed on the opportunity to enter Tecun Uman in an orderly fashion and instead chose to cross violently "destroying public property, injuring police agents and throwing glass bottles and rocks".
The White House has reportedly been considering a more extensive shutdown of the border, including an executive order that would ban asylum applications by those who reach the U.S.
Under the Posse Comitatus Act, federal troops are mostly prohibited from engaging in domestic law enforcement activities.
Pueblo Sin Fronteras, the group supporting the caravan, has said it hopes to hold meetings in the Mexican capital with federal lawmakers and authorities as well as representatives of the incoming government that takes office December 1 to discuss migrants' rights and the caravan's future.
Trump tweeted Monday about the caravan of several thousand Central American migrants moving through Mexico, saying no one will be admitted "unless you go through the legal process". U.S. Transportation Command posted a video on its Facebook page Monday of a C-17 transport plane that it said was delivering Army equipment to the Southwest border in support of the operation. They will not have arresting power and won't interact with migrants.