As thousands of migrants make their way north to the U.S. border, Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis is expected to sign an order sending at least 800 troops to the border, multiple media outlets reported Thursday morning.
BREAKING: AP source: Defense Secretary Mattis expected to sign order to send at least 800 troops to US-Mexico border.
— The Associated Press (@AP) October 25, 2018
The troops are expected to help Border Patrol agents stop the caravan of migrants that originated in Honduras if they make it to the U.S. border.
CNN reported that officials said details of the plan are still being worked out, and it’s unclear if the troops will be active duty or federally activated National Guard troops.
The troops are not supposed to use any type of lethal force to stop the migrants, according to CNN; rather they are to be used to “provide fencing, wall materials, and other technical support.”
The troops may defend themselves if attacked, but officials say it’s the Border Patrol agents who are tasked with physically stopping any type of illegal immigration.
In addition, the troops sent by Mattis are expected to provide medical care and tents to the Border Patrol agents stationed in the area.
This move comes on the heels of President Donald Trump’s threat to use military force to stop the caravan.
On Thursday, Trump tweeted that he would be “bringing out the military for this National Emergency.”
Brandon Judd of the National Border Patrol Council is right when he says on @foxandfriends that the Democrat inspired laws make it tough for us to stop people at the Border. MUST BE CHANDED, but I am bringing out the military for this National Emergency. They will be stopped!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 25, 2018
In addition, Trump tweeted last Thursday that he would ask Mexico to stop this “onslaught” and “call up the U.S. Military and CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!”
….In addition to stopping all payments to these countries, which seem to have almost no control over their population, I must, in the strongest of terms, ask Mexico to stop this onslaught – and if unable to do so I will call up the U.S. Military and CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 18, 2018
On Oct. 12, a group of about 160 Hondurans left their country to make the journey to the U.S. border. Since then, the caravan has grown exponentially, with people from other countries joining as well.
The group, moreover, has split up, which makes it increasingly difficult for authorities to tie down a solid number.
The BBC notes, however, that over 3,000 migrants have turned back since starting the journey.
After Mattis signs the order, the troops are expected to be at the border by next week.
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