United States President Donald Trump on Wednesday said that as many as 15,000 soldiers could be sent to the US-Mexico border to keep a caravan of migrants from Central America from entering the country, reported Reuters.
“It’s a dangerous group of people,” Trump said of the people moving from Honduras towards the US border through Mexico. “They’re not coming into our country,” AFP quoted the president as saying.
Trump said the US has deployed around 5,800 troops on the border. “We’ll go up anywhere between 10,000 and 15,000 military personnel, on top of Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and everybody else at the border.”
However, the numbers cited by the president exceed the figures that defence officials disclosed. The Pentagon said “more than 7,000” troops were being sent to the border to support the Customs and Border Protection agents and it could reach a maximum of about 8,000, reported AP.
“Our military is being mobilized at the Southern Border,” Trump said in a tweet on Wednesday. “Many more troops coming. We will NOT let these Caravans, which are also made up of some very bad thugs and gang members, into the U.S. Our Border is sacred, must come in legally. TURN AROUND!”
The caravan comprises about 3,500 people who are nearly 1,600 km away from the US border. It is largely made up of families and children looking to legally apply for asylum, PTI reported.
Trump has sought to use immigration as an issue to motivate Republican voters ahead of the November 6 midterm elections, where Republicans will seek to maintain control of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Trump, however, rejected that he was “fear-mongering” or using the issue for political purposes. He has often called the people in the caravan “thugs” and “Middle Eastern terrorists” but admitted last week that he has no proof for saying so.