Pentagon Will Send over 5,200 Troops to Southern Border

A U.S. Border Patrol agent at the U.S.-Mexico border wall near San Diego, Calif., April 2017. (Mike Blake/Reuters)

The U.S. will send more than 5,200 active-duty troops to the Mexican border this week to assist Border Patrol agents, the Department of Defense announced Monday.

“By the end of this week will we deploy over 5,200 soldiers to the southwest border. That is just the start of this operation; we’ll continue to adjust the numbers and inform you of those,” said General Terrence O’Shaughnessy, the head of U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command.

About 800 troops are already on their way to Texas as part of the operation, O’Shaughnessy said, and at least some of the deployed troops will be armed. The Department of Homeland Security requested the help of the troops, and Defense Secretary James Mattis signed off on it Friday.

The news comes as President Trump has raised the alarm about a caravan of Central American immigrants trekking north through Mexico with hopes of making it across the U.S. border, away from the violence in their home countries. Trump has called the caravan, which has grown to over 7,000 migrants, an “invasion” and an “assault on our country.”

Trump has touted his administration’s hard-line immigration policies at every opportunity as of late, in hopes of rallying his core supporters to the polls in next month’s midterm elections.

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