As many as 5,200 U.S. troops will deploy to the southern border to bolster U.S. border enforcement activity as a caravan of would be illegal immigrants is making their way north, General Terrence O’Shaughnessy announced Monday.
O’Shaughnessy told reporters that the 5,200 troops would be deployed at the request of the Department of Homeland Security.
The general noted that support activities would include engineers to create temporary fencing around ports of entry, saying, “We are also bringing three highly experienced and capable, combat engineering battalions with expertise in building temporary vehicle barriers, fencing and are bringing in heavy equipment.”
O’Shaughnessy continued by saying helicopter companies will also assist border patrol in spotting possible illegal immigrants and noted that any troops who are normally armed would be so on the southern border.
DHS emphasized that the additional military capabilities will be put towards “hardening” ports of entry where the caravan migrants are expected to approach.
The president has been incensed by the advancing caravan which has swelled to nearly 6,000 people, largely citizens of Central America. The Trump administration is concerned because current U.S. law requires a lengthy asylum adjudication process and believes many migrants are using loopholes in U.S. law to illegally immigrate.
The president is expected to reveal new policy initiatives in the coming days to quell the advancing caravan which Mexico and Central American countries have been unable to stop.
Trump subsequently pledged to punish the governments of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador for failing to stop its citizens heading north.