Defense Secretary Mattis may send at least 800 troops to southern border

Posted at 11:48 AM, Oct 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-25 12:48:34-04

(RNN) - Defense Secretary James Mattis is expected to sign deployment orders to send 800 troops or more to the border with Mexico.

The troops will help the U.S. Border Patrol stop a caravan of migrants from Central America from entering the U.S. at the border.

Whether the troops will be active duty or National Guard is not yet clear.

They will not use lethal force to stop the migrants, but will be able to use self-defense, CNN reports.

Those deployed will provide technical support, as well as fencing and other wall materials. The troops will also provide medical treatment to those who need it.

This additional deployment is not associated with the 4,000 National Guard members currently supporting border officials.

The 4,000 to 5,000 migrants are in Mexico about 1,000 miles from the U.S. border.

Mexican officials say nearly 1,700 have dropped out of the caravan to apply for asylum in Mexico, and a few hundred have accepted government offers to bus them back to their home countries.

Many in the caravan are women and children from Honduras, attempting to escape gang violence.

Melkin Claros, 34, was traveling with his 7-year old son and a teenage nephew and remained steadfast in his goal, the Associated Press reported. “Everyone’s objective is to arrive (in the United States),” he said, adding that he planned to request asylum because gangs made it impossible to live in Honduras.

“It’s true you risk your life a lot here, but we risk more in our country.”

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