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Pentagon Sending 5,200 Troops to Southern Border

Eight hundred soldiers were en route on Monday and the remainder of the troops would arrive by the end of the week

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, right, listens as Commander of United States Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command Gen. Terrence John O’Shaughnessy, left, speaks during a news conference in Washington, Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, on the Department of Defense deployment to the Southwest border.

The Defense Department says it’s sending 5,200 active duty troops to “harden” the southern border against a migrant caravan making its way through Mexico.

Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy told reporters that 800 soldiers were en route on Monday and that the remainder of the troops would be at the southwest border by the end of the week.

That’s in addition to the more than 2,000 members of the National Guard already providing assistance at the border now. Officials say the troops will provide “mission enhancing capabilities” and will be armed.

The announcement comes as President Donald Trump has been trying to focus on the caravan just a week before the midterm elections.

The migrant caravan has been moving slowly north from Central America and its numbers have been dwindling.

The troops are expected to perform a wide variety of functions such as transporting supplies for the Border Patrol, but not engage directly with migrants seeking to cross the border from Mexico, officials said.

The U.S. military has already begun delivering jersey barriers to the southern border in conjunction with plans to deploy active duty troops there.

President Trump labelled the caravan as an “invasion.” He tweeted Monday about the caravan saying no one will be admitted “unless you go through the legal process.”

Trump also said the group includes “Gang Members and some very bad people.” He has made similar claims before without offering evidence.

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