Pentagon sending 5200 troops to secure border as mid-term elections loom

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The U.S. military will send approximately 5,000 support troops to the U.S. -Mexico border, the Pentagon announced on Monday.

Kevin McAleenan, the top US border security official, said the decision to send troops was not motivated by electoral politics but rather was a law enforcement necessity, as USA agents prepare for the possibility that crowds of migrants will amass and turn unruly.

A previous migrant caravan this year ended with about 200 people at the border between Tijuana and San Diego in early May, where they turned themselves over to authorities on the US side and applied for asylum.

But critics say Trump is politicizing the military, deploying them as a stunt to drive Republican voters to the polls without any real national security threat.

The first group passed through the spot via the river - wading or on rafts - and was advancing through southern Mexico.

"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.

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Customs and Border Protection is pushing a surge in personnel in response to the caravan of Central American immigrants, which is still hundreds of miles from the USA 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. and they're going to wait".

"We'll be able to spot and identify groups and rapidly deploy CBP personnel where they are needed", O'Shaughnessy said.

He is expected to hold 11 rallies in the days ahead of the November 6 midterms, which Washington pundits are characterising as a referendum on his presidency.

The troop deployment, one week before the U.S. midterm elections, appears to be the largest U.S. active-duty mobilization along the U.S. -Mexico boundary in decades and amounts to a significant militarization of American border security.

In April, Trump ordered up to 4,000 National Guardsmen to head to the border as a different migrant caravan wound its way north.

Migrants are entitled under both US and global law to apply for asylum. Please go back, you will not be admitted into the United States unless you go through the legal process. But there already is a bottleneck of would-be asylum seekers waiting at some US border crossings to make their claims, some waiting as long as five weeks.

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Trump told reporters at the White House on Wednesday that "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".

Trump tweeted: "This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!" The troops expected to be sent to the border will primarily consist of military police and engineers, but the military also reportedly plans to send Marines.

Advanced helicopters will enable border protection agents to swoop down on migrants, he said.

The projected US deployment is already roughly the same size as the USA military contingent in Iraq.

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

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