President Trump says border troops could hit 15K, surprising Pentagon

Mexico's ambassador to US claims there are very violent migrants in caravan

The decision to deploy such a large number of troops in the days before the Midterm elections has resulted in accusations from critics of the President that he is using the issue as a political stunt created to fire up a base concerned about immigration.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday the United States could send as many as 15,000 troops to the border with Mexico, as he hardens his stance against a caravan of migrants fleeing violence and poverty in Central America. Many have said they plan to apply for asylum at an official port of entry, as other caravans have done in the past.

"This is totally legal".

Trump also tweeted a video Wednesday alleging Democrats were responsible for allowing a homicidal immigrant into the US but provided no evidence supporting that claim.

"It's the military. I hope there won't be that", Trump said. "We have a lot of everything". "We're going to consider it - and I told them, 'consider that a rifle.' When they throw rocks like they did at the Mexico military and police, I say 'consider it a rifle'".

Immigrant rights groups are expected to challenge any limits placed on access to asylum.

He lied that his administration is building his promised border wall, he lied about asylum-seekers, he stoked conspiracy theories about the Central American immigrant caravan, and he lied about the number of undocumented immigrants in the country.

He said separately that "3 percent" of asylum seekers show up for court dates.

FILE - A police officer helps a Honduran migrant, part of a caravan trying to reach the US, as she storms a border checkpoint to cross into Mexico, in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, Oct. 19, 2018.

The caravan is "like an invasion", Trump said Thursday, claiming that numerous members are men "we don't want in our country". The troops are legally barred from enforcing U.S. immigration law and are instead providing support to border officials. Another clash left one migrant dead and dozens wounded in a confrontation between the immigrants and authorities, the paper said. "We're not allowing people to come in". The suspect in that case, Robert Bowers, reportedly posted anti-Semitic and anti-immigrant comments on social media, claiming Jews were helping a migrant caravan that he likened to "invaders".

Interested in Donald Trump? So their role would largely be limited to activities such as providing helicopter support for border missions, installing concrete barriers and vehicle maintenance, rather than detaining migrants.

Still, sending this many troops to the border seems to compound a vision of this caravan as an "invading force" that requires a sizable border force to repel.

Trump told the groups of migrants, most of whom are in Honduras and still more than 900 miles away from the United States border, to seek legal entry.

Interviewer Jonathan Karl asked about the need for the force, noting that many caravan members are women in children.

According to the 1997 Flores settlement, children can only be held in immigration detention for up to 20 days, after which they must either be released to a guardian or placed in a licensed shelter.

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