Pentagon could send thousands more troops to US-Mexico border

Central American migrants try to force their way through a customs gate at the border bridge connecting Guatemala and Mexico in Tecun Uman

"We are preparing for the contingency of a large group of arriving persons intending to enter the United States in the next several weeks", McAleenan told reporters Monday afternoon in a briefing alongside O'Shaughnessy.

"What I can confirm is there will be additional force over and above the 5,239".

It remains unclear why the administration was choosing to send active-duty troops given that they will be limited to performing the support functions the Guard already is doing.

O'Shaughnessy said some soldiers would be armed although it was unclear who, beyond US military police, might need those weapons.

With 5,200 troops on their way to the nation's southwest border, the Pentagon said Tuesday that number is expected to swell.

Three U.S. officials say the number of military troops deployed to the southern border in support of the Customs and Border Patrol could be in the thousands. "Our goal is to make it to the [U.S.]". By the end of the week, they'll head to staging bases in California, south Texas and Arizona. Border Patrol agents this year made only a quarter of the arrests they made in 2000 at the height of illegal immigration, when the agency had half of the staffing it does today. He said the Department of Defense was still planning the logistics and details of the deployment.

The aviation units are among ten listed in the planning documents which are slated to be in place by November 2 and conclude their mission on December 15.

A 26-year-old caravan rider was killed after being struck with a rubber bullet, something Mexican officials say was not their fault.

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In addition, thousands of additional reserve forces are on hand to be sent to the border, The Hill reported. However, it will also include an armed contingent of military police officers, including soldiers of the 89th Military Police Brigade from Fort Hood in Texas.

Additionally, a headquarters unit from the Marine's Corps Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force (SPMAGTF) out of Pendleton will travel further south to San Diego. The Pentagon's "Operation Faithful Patriot" was described by the commander of U.S. Northern Command as an effort to help Customs and Border Protection "harden the southern border" by stiffening defenses at and near legal entry points.

Should the plan be fully implemented, the additional 5,200 troops will join 2,000 National Guard members already in place, for a total of 7,200 on the border - far exceeding the 2,000 USA troops in Syria and the 4,500 in Iraq.

Previous presidents have ordered the military to support anti-drug smuggling operations and active-duty troops still do so.

The announcement, just days before the midterm elections, came as Mexico also cracked down on migrants attempting to cross its own porous southern border.

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.

O'Shaughnessy said that the U.S.is "working closely to understand the nature and makeup of this caravan".

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". We're going to hold them, we're going to build tent cities, we're gonna build tents all over the place.

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