Donald Trump: US planning ‘tent cities’ for migrants

Migrant caravan takes a break in southern Mexico

Migrant caravan takes a break in southern Mexico

Thousands of U.S. troops may be headed to the border with Mexico ahead of a caravan of migrants trekking toward the United States, U.S. officials told Reuters on Monday, offering much higher estimates than the 800 to 1,000 initially forecast.

Trump railed against illegal immigration to win the 2016 presidential election and has seized on the caravan of Central American migrants at campaign rallies in the run-up to next week's vote. They said asylum in the United States is their primary goal, but some expressed openness to applying for protected status in Mexico if that doesn't work out.

USA officials told Reuters they would begin deploying as soon as Tuesday and their mission was authorised through to mid-December, a date that could be extended.

Mr Trump has described migrant groups moving through Latin America and aiming to get into the USA as an "invasion", and the military deployment is far larger than was expected a week ago.

"They are incentivized to try to cross our border by the gaps in our legal framework and the expectation that they would be allowed to stay", said US Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan. The standoff at the riverbank followed a more violent confrontation that occurred on the bridge over the river Sunday night, when migrants threw rocks and used sticks against Mexico police.

Trump denied his focus on the caravan is meant to help Republicans in next week's midterms, saying, "This has nothing to do with elections". Around 2,000 National Guard troops have already been deployed to the border, with as many as 5,200 more active-duty troops poised to head that way if needed.

A Pentagon spokesperson told the WSJ that any reporting on troop deployment figures is "premature", as planning is still underway, but some U.S. troops are reportedly already on their way to the border, where they are expected to serve until mid-December.

On Tuesday, he stepped up his dire warnings, calling the band of migrants fleeing poverty and violence in Central America an "invasion".

A Mexican federal police helicopter flies close to the Suchiate river to create a downwash force to discourage migrants from wading across on Monday.

A second caravan of about 3,000 approached the Guatemalan-Mexican border Sunday with the apparent intention to meet up with the larger group. "If you want to wait, they don't usually get asylum".

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.

Drake added: "Sending active military forces to our southern border is not only a huge waste of taxpayer money, but an unnecessary course of action that will further terrorize and militarize our border communities".

Experts widely dismissed the idea that the president could unilaterally change the rules on who is a citizen and said it's highly questionable whether an act of Congress could do it, either.

And the cost is "unknown at this time", he said, The Hill reported.

"Please go back", the president tweeted Monday.

Trump also said the group includes "Gang Members and some very bad people". 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.

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