Trump plans 'tent cities' at US-Mexico border

National Guard Border

The total number of US troops heading to the border with Mexico to help stop a caravan of migrants could be in the thousands but there is no firm figure yet, a USA official told Reuters on Monday, offering a much higher estimate than the 800 to 1,000 initially forecast.

The troops will come from Army bases around the country, including Fort Bragg in North Carolina, Fort Riley in Kansas, Fort Campbell in Kentucky and Joint Base Lewis McChord in Washington state.

Even as United States officials unveiled details of the military deployment, migrants were trying to cross the Suchiate River from Guatemala into Mexico on rafts made from truck tires, or by forming human chains to avoid being swept away.

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

Trump told reporters at the White House on Wednesday that "we'll go up to anywhere between 10 and 15,000 military personnel on top of Border Patrol, ICE and everybody else at the border".

The president has stepped up his focus on immigration in the days leading up to the midterm elections.

"There will be additional force over and above 5,239", said O'Shaughnessy.

Troops planned to bring heavy concertina wiring to unspool across open spaces between ports.

General Terrence O'Shaughnessy, the head of U.S. Northern Command, defended the operation at a briefing on Tuesday. Some of the troops will be armed.

Children of migrants wait for a ride near Tapanatepec, Mexico, as their caravan continues toward the USA border, October 29, 2018. 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.

CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan warned Monday that other similar caravans were being organized in Central America.

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A caravan of mostly Hondurans, estimated to number between 3,500 and 7,000, who left their country in mid-October are now in southern Mexico.

A low-flying police helicopter hovered overhead as the migrants waded in large groups across the murky river, apparently trying to use the downdraft from its rotors to discourage them.

The 23-year-old from Corinto, Honduras, was part of the first caravan, whose members set off Tuesday, walking and hitching rides on the highway through Mexico's narrow, windy southern isthmus. That group appeared to begin as a collection of about 160 who made a decision to band together in Honduras for protection against the gangs who prey on migrants traveling alone and snowballed as the group moved north. Guatemala's Interior Ministry said Guatemalan police officers were injured when the migrant group broke through border barriers on Guatemala's side of the bridge. Under global law, these are considered refugees.

The move represents a massive military build-up along the border, where some 2,000 National Guardsmen are already working to provide help to overwhelmed authorities.

Another smaller caravan earlier this year numbered only a couple hundred by the time it arrived at the Tijuana-San Diego crossing.

The woman said "she was suspicious of the government's proposal and said that some Hondurans who had applied for legal status had already been sent back".

"We just want to a way to get to our final goal, which is the border", he said.

A group of Central American migrants bound for the U.S border wade in mass across the Suchiate River, that connects Guatemala and Mexico, in Tecun Uman, Guatemala.

"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", said Shaw Drake of the American Civil Liberties Union's border rights center at El Paso, Texas.

The massive chain of migrants slowly making its way towards the US southern border, which is still some 1,000 miles north, is now demanding that the Mexican government provide transportation for its estimated 4,000 participants - demands issued amid reports of outbreaks of violence as more groups have forced their way through Mexico's southern border.

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