Sec. Mattis Has Approved Sending More American Troops to the Southern Border

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen sat down with Martha MacCallum for an exclusive interview, and she had a warning for the caravan of thousands of migrants shambling toward the southern USA border.

The caravan of some 7,000 people, which Trump has described as a "national emergency", was near Mapastepec in southern Mexico on Thursday - approximately 1,000 miles away from the USA border.

Police boarded buses and headed further down the highway, while migrants cheered and vowed to trek all the way to the US border despite fierce opposition from President Donald Trump.

At least 60 migrants have already done so from the group stranded at the border.

Democrats have accused Trump and Republicans of "fearmongering" on immigration ahead of the election. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to provide details that have not yet been publicly announced, said the troops will not be involved in detaining migrants.

Police let the caravan proceed after representatives from Mexico's National Human Rights Commission convinced them that a rural stretch of highway without shade, toilets or water was no place for migrants to entertain an offer of asylum.

"If someone migrates to the United States, it's to work, and working is not a crime", he said.

In April, frustrated by lack of progress on the wall, Trump ordered the National Guard to help secure the border.

The caravan began in Honduras almost two weeks ago and other Central Americans have joined it along the way.


Earlier this year Mattis authorized Pentagon funding for up to 4,000 National Guard troops on the border and thus far only a little over 2,000 have been used.

The caravan swelled dramatically soon after crossing the Mexican border on October 19, but sickness, fear and police harassment have whittled down its numbers. The caravan is still about 1,000 miles from the U.S. -Mexico border.

The migrants said they left Honduras because of economic hardships and violence. When trucks stop it's usually young men who sprint to reach them first.

The migrant caravan says it's determined to reach the USA border, where they hope President Trump will have a "change of heart" and allow its several thousand members to seek refuge and asylum in the United States. "Those in the migrant caravan are not gang members or terrorists, in fact many have family members in the United States who are citizens", the network said in its statement.

The Pentagon approved a request for additional troops at the southern border, likely to total several hundred, to help the U.S. Border Patrol as the president seeks to transform concerns about immigration and the caravan into electoral gains in the November 6 midterms.

But after one of the caravan's longest days of walking and hanging from passing trucks, the bulk of the migrants were boisterous Friday evening in their refusal to accept anything less than safe passage to the USA border.

"We are nervous, but happy, because - so many days waiting", said 22-year-old Maria Yuliza Soreque, whose turn came on Tuesday to enter the United States after she, her mother and two-year-old daughter had been in the city for five weeks.

Mujica accused immigration officials of trying to scare them.

"Is there any scenario under which if people force their way across the border, they could be shot at?"


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