Mattis Expected to Send Hundreds of Troops to Border

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Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is expected to sign an order as early as Thursday sending 800 or more troops to the southern border to support the Border Patrol, a USA official said.

US President Donald Trump has for the first time directly addressed Central American migrants making their way towards the US southern border, telling them that they will not be permitted to enter the country illegally. In support of this goal, each Border Patrol station has assigned representatives maintain positive relationships with landowners to foster communication and transparency regarding border security issues.

There already are about 2,000 National Guard troops assisting at the border under a previous Pentagon arrangement.

A small group of Honduran migrants trying to reach the US border walk along train tracks in Trancas Viejas, Veracruz state, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018.

The ones from Texas aren't armed and are helping in key support roles such as running motor pools so more Customs and Border Protection agents can work directly along the border, said Texas Army National Guardsmen spokesman Maj.

The order comes as thousands of Central American migrants continue their caravan trek through Mexico toward the hoped-for, but still far-distant USA border. Most are Hondurans, seeking to escape the poverty and violence that plagues the region. "Go back to your Country and if you want, apply for citizenship like millions of others are doing!" tweeted the President.

The migrants have largely been disconnected from news reports about them while on the road.

Candy Guillermo, a 37-year-old migrant in the caravan who had heard about the plan to deploy troops, was surprised she and the children in the group would be considered a threat.

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"It's hard, and we know this country is risky too, but back in Honduras it's even more unsafe, they kill for nothing", said Josena Anibal Mejia, 27, as he walked with his daughter.

But Nielsen warned: "This caravan can not come to the United States".

In 2017, the USA had 331,700 asylum claims, more than any country in the world, according to the U.N. Refugee Agency.

The planned deployment of active-duty troops is in response to a request from the Department of Homeland Security, which manages the Border Patrol.

Foreign nationals fleeing unsafe conditions have the right to apply for asylum at the United States border under United States law.

But Trump told a rally crowd in Wisconsin on Wednesday that moves were underway.

President Trump's rhetoric in recent days has been consistent with his campaign promise to secure the southern border.