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Trump says up to 15,000 troops could go to the border

President Donald Trump claimed that up to 15,000 US troops could be sent to the border to deal with the grou...

Posted: Nov 1, 2018 8:33 AM
Updated: Nov 1, 2018 8:33 AM

President Donald Trump claimed that up to 15,000 US troops could be sent to the border to deal with the group of approximately 3,500 migrants heading toward the US through Mexico.

The migrants, who are more than 800 miles away from the US, are weeks away from arriving at the border, where many reportedly plan to follow legal procedures and seek asylum.

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"As far as the caravan is concerned our military is out, we have about 5,000-8 (thousand), we'll go up to anywhere between 10 (thousand) and 15,000 military personnel on top of border patrol, ICE and everybody else on the border," Trump told reporters Wednesday.

The Pentagon has already announced 5,200 active duty troops are being sent to the border and has identified an additional 2,000 that could go. There are currently 2,100 National Guardsmen on duty at the border and an additional 2,000 could be called upon to go if needed.

Shortly after Trump spoke, the Pentagon released a statement saying "The number of troops deployed will change each day as military forces flow into the operating area, but the initial estimate is that the DOD will have more than 7,000 troops supporting DHS across California, Arizona and Texas."

Senior military officers have defended the deployment on national security grounds. The mission -- dubbed Operation Faithful Patriot -- will "provide a range of assistance, including planning, engineering, transportation, logistics and medical support to the US Customs and Border Protection," according to the Pentagon.

But Trump has painted a different picture with his rhetoric, casting the deployment as a necessary intervention to stop potentially dangerous individuals from entering the country.

"Trump is painting a word picture for his political base of troops arrayed along the border to hurl back invaders, when what he is really sending are mechanics, construction workers, planners, supply clerks and pilots who will be planning, building, supplying, flying and repairing," said CNN military analyst John Kirby.

Trump doubled down on the threat posed by the migrants earlier Wednesday and said he'd be sending "many more" troops to the border.

"Our military is being mobilized at the Southern Border," the President tweeted. "Many more troops coming. We will NOT let these Caravans, which are also made up of some very bad thugs and gang members, into the U.S. Our Border is sacred, must come in legally. TURN AROUND!"

Later, Trump added that he is thinking "very seriously" and "immediately" of stopping aid to countries where people in the group of migrants are coming from.

"Nobody's coming in. We're not allowing people to come in," Trump said. "If you look at what happened in Mexico two days ago with the roughness of these people in the second caravan that's been forming, and also frankly in the first caravan, and now they have one forming in El Salvador. ... We are thinking very seriously, immediately stopping aid to those countries because frankly, they're doing nothing for the American people."

"Immigration is a very, very big and very dangerous -- a really dangerous topic and we're not gonna allow people to come into our country that don't have the well being of our country in mind," he added before insisting that he is not "fear mongering."

Yet Trump's announcement Wednesday that "up to 15,000" troops will be sent to the border has only fueled scrutiny from critics who have condemned the deployment as a political stunt by a President eager to fire up his political base just days away from the midterm elections.

Many have pointed out that Trump's latest figure exceeds the number of US troops currently serving in Afghanistan, which stands at approximately 14,000.

Defense Secretary James Mattis pushed back against that assertion by critics Wednesday, telling reporters, "We don't do stunts."

While the sheer size of the deployment has made headlines, Kirby cautioned that troop numbers are "mission specific" and should not be used to compare the US military's presence in different parts of the world.

"It's not about the footprint. It's about the mission. And sometimes enabling missions — especially if that's all you're going to do — require a significant footprint," he said, pointing out that US troops deployed to the border will serve as "enablers" rather than "trigger-pullers."

Another concern that has been raised is the unknown cost to taxpayers, given that much smaller deployments of National Guard to the border have cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

Congressional sources told CNN on Wednesday that relevant lawmakers have not yet received cost data from the Pentagon. Pentagon spokesperson Christopher Sherwood told CNN Tuesday that details related to the final price tag are still being worked out.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 657037

Reported Deaths: 12450
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion901321624
Lake48105871
Allen35552632
Hamilton31839393
St. Joseph29538510
Elkhart25261412
Vanderburgh21115377
Tippecanoe19765197
Johnson16242352
Porter15838267
Hendricks15723296
Clark11843179
Madison11672314
Vigo11503228
Monroe10248158
Delaware9788178
LaPorte9720194
Howard9017194
Kosciusko8514107
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Warrick7369146
Hancock7362128
Floyd7139164
Wayne6586188
Grant6395157
Morgan6040124
Boone603388
Dubois5868111
Dearborn540266
Henry539492
Marshall5390104
Cass537199
Noble506775
Jackson462063
Shelby458490
Lawrence4154111
Gibson399681
Harrison395160
Clinton392353
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Knox354484
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Steuben335955
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Randolph225076
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Jay177328
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Ohio Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 958153

Reported Deaths: 16968
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1109381191
Cuyahoga944201702
Hamilton72486944
Montgomery46927869
Summit39637941
Butler35004461
Lucas34724755
Stark29011826
Warren22137269
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Mahoning19251533
Lake18178300
Clermont18172206
Delaware16261128
Licking14820194
Fairfield14378157
Trumbull14136454
Greene13470209
Medina13188218
Clark12121332
Wood11384193
Portage10829152
Allen10710231
Richland10165198
Miami9937179
Columbiana8049179
Muskingum8036123
Tuscarawas7974233
Pickaway795898
Marion7936134
Wayne7791216
Erie6783181
Ross6065135
Geauga5978129
Hancock5941110
Scioto5867105
Ashtabula5811140
Lawrence519073
Union505052
Darke5006122
Belmont484787
Sandusky472393
Jefferson4709107
Huron4701116
Seneca4620103
Athens456231
Mercer4559101
Auglaize453896
Washington451286
Shelby438867
Knox397884
Putnam3964101
Madison388747
Ashland374594
Fulton374364
Defiance3670101
Brown366742
Crawford354296
Preble350570
Logan349757
Clinton336162
Highland323652
Ottawa318467
Williams299578
Jackson287056
Guernsey283234
Champaign282545
Fayette265642
Perry265239
Morrow256624
Henry242665
Hardin241856
Holmes2416104
Coshocton230246
Van Wert227749
Gallia219446
Adams213732
Pike212025
Wyandot207652
Hocking192148
Carroll178828
Paulding158423
Meigs133536
Noble127842
Monroe114936
Harrison99132
Morgan98834
Vinton76215
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