Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says the U.S. military has already begun moving equipment to the U.S.-Mexico border to thwart a caravan of Central Americans that hope to enter America.
Mattis told reporters traveling with him in Prague that the military is delivering jersey barriers to the border in preparation of deploying up to 1,000 active duty Army troops there.
“The additional troops will provide logistical and other support to the Border Patrol, and will bolster the efforts of the approximately 2,000 National Guard forces already there,” the Associated Press reported. “The new forces are expected to provide logistical assistance such as air support and equipment, including vehicles and tents.”
President Trump is reportedly planning to make a major speech on Tuesday about immigration. The Washington Post says he is expected to announce he is invoking national security for using emergency powers to stop migrants from entering the U.S.
“Many Gang Members and some very bad people are mixed into the Caravan heading to our Southern Border,” Trump wrote on Twitter Monday morning. “Please go back, you will not be admitted into the United States unless you go through the legal process. This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!”
Meanwhile, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told “Fox News Sunday” that “what the president has been saying and will continue to say, and certainly what I have been saying, is, this caravan is not getting in.”
“There is a legal way to enter this country. Those who choose to enter illegally will be stopped,” she said.
What we’re really talking about is the flow of people that are headed towards United States. They have chosen to break laws along the way. You saw some of them, frankly overwhelm and burst through the border between Guatemala and the country of Mexico.
Mexico has offered them asylum. In some cases, they have refused. Mexico has offered them work permits. In some cases, they have refused.
And I think what the president and I are both saying, and we want to be clear on this is, if you seek asylum, do so in the first place, country, Mexico has offered you refuge.
If you want a job, that is not asylum. If you want to be reunited with your family, that is not asylum. If you want to just come live in the United States, that is not asylum; there are legal ways to do that.
But this is about the rule of law. This is about understanding who is in the flow. And Chris, I cannot tell you as Secretary of Homeland Security, that I know every person in this flow.
In another development, a different band of migrants several hundred strong “broke through border barriers in the Guatemala town of Tecun Uman just as members of the caravan did more than a week earlier. Those migrants clashed with Mexican authorities determined not to let the caravan grow or be repeated,” the AP reported.