Published: Fri, November 02, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

Donald Trump: US planning ‘tent cities’ for migrants

Donald Trump: US planning ‘tent cities’ for migrants

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a United States official said the 5,000 figure was right - but cautioned that planning is still under way and said no final decisions have been made on numbers.

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

"Right now, we're planning it, how we're going to do it", he added. The National Guard is often used by states to help with border security.

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 number of people in the first migrant caravan headed toward the US has dwindled to about 4,000 from about 7,000 last week, though a second one was gaining steam and marked by violence. Police rescued the man as he was being beaten and took him to a hospital for treatment, though his condition was not immediately clear.On Sunday, several in the caravan took to microphones to denounce the attack."Is that the way we're going to always behave?" a woman from Honduras asked.Others complained of trekkers smoking marijuana or warned that images of litter and uneaten food made them appear disrespectful.The group planned to set out early Monday for Niltepec, 54 kilometers (33 miles) to the northwest in Oaxaca state.The caravan still must travel 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) to reach the nearest USA border crossing at McAllen, Texas. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a troop plan that was not yet publicly announced.

The Wall Street Journal reported the planned deployment was likely to be much higher than officials had disclosed late last week when preliminary figures of 800 to 1,000 were cited.

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It means that within days, the USA military will have more than three times as many troops along the southern border as it does fighting Islamic State in Syria.

Trump took to Twitter on Monday to again blast the migrant caravan, which is comprised mainly of Hondurans and is making its way slowly northward, mostly on foot, through Mexico.

Trump also said the group includes "Gang Members and some very bad people". But there already is a bottleneck of would-be asylum seekers waiting at some USA border crossings to make their claims, some waiting as long as five weeks.

He is expected to hold 11 rallies in the days ahead of the November 6 midterms, which Washington pundits are characterizing as a referendum on his presidency. The military troops are meant to assist the border patrol, not engage directly with migrants, several officials said.

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. All of the active-duty troops are scheduled to be deployed by the end of the week, but some are already in the Rio Grande Valley.

Mattis told reporters traveling with him Sunday that details of the deployment are still being worked out but he should have them Sunday night.

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