Trump to Deploy 5,200 Troops to Southern Border to Stop US-Bound Migrant Invasion
The U.S. military said it would send 5,200 troops to the southwest border in response to a caravan of migrants from Central America that President Trump has seized on as an issue in the Nov. 6 midterm elections.
The movement is the largest, quick deployment of active-duty U.S. troops since the response to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, when thousands arrived within days, former officials said. It is a major escalation of the U.S. response at the border, which as recently as last week was planned for 800 troops. With 2,000 National Guard members already in place, it will exceed the combined U.S. military footprint in Iraq and Syria.
“Our first level of effort will be to harden the points of entry and address key gaps in areas around the points of entry,” said Air Force Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, commander of the U.S. Northern Command, which is responsible for the continental U.S.
With the balance of power in Congress up for grabs next Tuesday, President Trump has seized on the migrant caravan to rally his Republican supporters. Close U.S. Senate or House elections are being fought in the border states of Arizona, California and Texas.
“This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!” Mr. Trump wrote Monday morning on Twitter, without directly mentioning troop numbers.
Critics of the president said the use of active-duty troops is a political gambit and that the domestic deployment will degrade military readiness for defense abroad.
“When Donald Trump deploys troops for a nonexistent threat, that means troops are not training or preparing for the fights that could be on the horizon, for legitimate threats,” said Will Fischer, director of government relations for VoteVets, a pro-Democratic advocacy group. “This is a campaign ploy.”