By the end of Monday there will be 5,200 active duty service members serving along the border in what is officially a support mission to Customs and Border Protection (CBP), but on the eve of the mid-term election President Trump continues to play the deployment as a campaign issue.
On Thursday, Trump claimed the military is putting up thousands of tents to hold migrants, but officials said there are no plans as of now to build tents. "There is no plan for USA military forces to be involved in the actual mission of denying people entry to the United States", Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford told reporters Monday, "There is no plan for the soldiers to come in contact with immigrants or to reinforce the Department of Homeland Security as they are conducting their mission. But we're going to arrest those people quickly and for a long time", he told reporters.
"Mexico's trying, but I think maybe they could try a little bit harder", he said. The soldiers are there as back up for Customs and Border Patrol agents.
Around 4,800 U.S. soldiers were deployed yesterday to the border with Mexico, the Pentagon announced, saying it could not give a price tag for the operation Democrats decry as political maneuvering from President Donald Trump.
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Last week, the Trump administration ordered the deployment of thousands of active-duty USA troops to support Customs and Border Protection agents in three states - Texas, Arizona and California - in response to the caravans.
According to Pentagon sources on Monday, some 4,600 soldiers have already been mobilised and were stationed in California, Arizona and Texas, and the goal was to mobilise an additional 600 soldiers, reports Efe news. But, the official noted, that was not expected to be part of Faithful Patriot and the timing of any such future mission was unclear.
Trump's push to send the military to the border comes ahead of Tuesday's mid-term congressional elections and has triggered sharp reactions, with critics calling it a political stunt that misuses USA military resources. While beginning in Honduras, it reached a peak of 7,000 people as many from other Central American nations joined in the 1,553-mile (2,500-kilometer) journey to reach the U.S.by foot. Mr. Trump has blasted illegal immigration in the past, and called for the importance of border security.