Over 5,100 troops are already on the border with orders to keep the caravan from Honduras from getting into the country, CBS News reports.
A steady flow of military vehicles was seen streaming into one border town. A previously empty field in town is now holding 300 troops or more.
The troops will serve as backup for Border Patrol and Customs agents. They’re also reinforcing entry areas along the fence, and adding barbed wire to certain areas.
They’ve been deployed in Operation Faithful Patriot, Donald Trump’s effort to secure the border against a large caravan of refugees. The caravan is primarily comprised of people from Honduras who have fled the country due to lack of jobs, drug cartel activity, and corruption among government officials.
US troops lay barbed wire along the Mexican border pic.twitter.com/xvh8IkYNed— Jack Posobiec ???????? (@JackPosobiec) November 4, 2018
Trump has talked frequently about the caravan of immigrants headed toward the border in less-than-glowing terms, accusing them of being criminals. At one point, he said there were Middle Easterners hiding among the caravan, a statement he later changed.
The caravan reached Mexico City Monday. Now, the group is less than 700 miles from the U.S. border. The immigrants should reach the border in about six weeks.
The deployment of troops and vehicles to the border will cost an estimated $220 million, according to CNBC. Trump has said he is willing to send up to 15,000 troops to the border.
A risk assessment of the caravan performed by the Pentagon found that there is no threat to the U.S. from these immigrants.
Operation Faithful Patriot will deploy almost 2,000 more troops to the border.
The White House also recently asked the U.S. military to build facilities to hold detained immigrants. The Pentagon denied this request, reports The Hill.
The White House also asked for “crowd and traffic control,” and requested that the military be allowed to perform law environment tasks as needed along the border. The Pentagon denied this request as well.
There are already 2,100 National Guard members stationed at the border, ready to assist Homeland Security, in addition to the 7,000 troops who will soon be stationed there.
Last week, Donald Trump said he plans to build tents to provide housing for the immigrants in the caravan, according to Reuters.
“We’re going to have tents. They’re going to be very nice. They’re going to wait and if they don’t get asylum, they get out,” he said. So far, no housing units of any kind have been erected for immigrants, though some facilities have been set up for the troops deployed to points along the border.