Following public warnings by President Donald Trump that a group of migrants from Central America should not try to get into the United States, the Pentagon announced Monday that it was deploying up to 5,000 active-duty troops along the Mexican border in coming weeks, in part to deter a caravan of illegal immigrants from Central America which is nearly 1,000 miles away in southern Mexico, as Democrats said the move was nothing but a politics in the days before the mid-term elections for Congress.
'I think the President has made it clear that border security is national security," said Gen. Terrence O'Shaugnessy, the head of the military's Northern Command.
In a briefing for reporters at the Pentagon, the General said the purpose was to help bolster Border Patrol resources in "southern Texas, and then Arizona, and then California."
"This is an invasion of our County and our Military is waiting for you!" the President tweeted earlier on Monday in a warning to the caravan.
The threat of the caravan is a popular item with many Republicans, as GOP leaders see it as an issue which can help GOP candidates next week.
"We need to stop this caravan from entering the U.S.," said Rep. Mike McCaul (R-TX).
Not surprisingly, Democrats saw the announcement a bit differently.
"Sending thousands of troops to turn them away as if they are foreign invaders reflects the profound paranoia, fear, and hate fueling this administration’s immigration policies," said Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA).
"Those seeking asylum in America should be treated with compassion, not like enemies of the state," Markey added.
At recent campaign rallies, the President has eagerly talked about the caravan, as he calls for more money to be spent to build portions of a wall along the southern border, and denounces Democrats for not speaking out against the caravan.
"Republicans want strong borders, no crime, and no caravans, right? We don't want caravans," the President said Saturday during a rally in southern Illinois.
"We're not having caravans," as the crowd started the familiar chant of, "Build the wall."
As for what the active-duty soldiers can do along the border - the answer is, not that much - as like National Guard troops, they are only allowed to do support missions to help federal law enforcement agencies.
Pentagon officials said the extra troops would help with 'mission enhancing capabilities.'
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.