US troops deployed at the border limited in what they can do

Migrant caravan takes a break in southern Mexico

Migrant caravan takes a break in southern Mexico

Several thousand Central American migrants planned to resume their trek through southern Mexico before dawn Monday, while authorities in that country and Guatemala tried to sort out the killing of a migrant at a border crossing.On Sunday, while the band of migrants was resting and reorganizing in Tepanatepec, several hundred in another group more broke through border barriers in the Guatemala town of Tecun Uman just as members of the caravan did more than a week earlier.

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.

A previous migrant caravan this year ended with about 200 people at the border between Tijuana and San Diego in early May, where they turned themselves over to authorities on the US side and applied for asylum.

McAleenan, the CBP commissioner, said his agency was tracking a caravan of about 3,500 people moving north through southern Mexico.

United States officials last week said about 800 active-duty troops would be sent to provide assistance - mainly in the form of logistical support - to border guards working along the frontier.

President Donald Trump warned the "caravan of migrants" approaching the US-Mexico border Monday that the US military will be waiting for them when they arrive.

Now there are 2,100 National Guard helping at the border.

But any migrants who complete the long trek to the southern USA border already face major hurdles - both physical and bureaucratic - to being allowed into the United States.

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The US has not released details of the plan, but it is widely expected to include a role for Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter with the media.

The first group passed through the spot via the river - wading or on rafts - and was advancing through southern Mexico.

"If they apply for asylum, we are going to hold them until such time as their trial takes place". So said General Terrence O'Shaughnessy during a joint Defense Department and Customs and Border Protection press briefing Monday.

Trump denied his focus on the caravan is meant to help Republicans in next week's midterms, saying, "This has nothing to do with elections". But the core group of mostly Honduran migrants has rejected his entreaty and continued heading north toward the USA border. But there already is a bottleneck of would-be asylum seekers waiting at some USA border crossings to make their claims, some waiting as long as five weeks. The Pentagon says an additional 5,200 active-duty troops could join them.

On Monday, he tweeted without providing evidence, "Many Gang Members and some very bad people are mixed into the Caravan heading to our Southern Border".

The troops will include military police, combat engineers and others helping on the southern border. He said the caravans was "different" than those seen by the United States in the past, adding that they were better organized.

The projected US deployment is already roughly the same size as the USA military contingent in Iraq.

The caravan remains at least 900 miles from US territory, so its arrival is not imminent.

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