5,200 Active Duty Military Troops Heading to Mexican Border per Trump’s Orders, Pentagon Says

October 29, 2018, 9:41 PM UTC

The Defense Department confirmed that it will send a total of 5,200 active duty military troops to the U.S. border with Mexico by the end of the week, according to General Terrence O’Shaughnessy, the head of North American ground and air defense.

The troop approval comes in the wake of Trump and GOP politicians’ headed rhetoric about a caravan of several thousand migrants en route from Central American nations through Mexico. The caravan is currently about 1,000 miles away, and will take at least weeks to arrive, if not further deterred by Mexican authorities.

About 800 troops are already en route. The soldiers deployed in this operation will all be armed. “We have the authority, given to us by [Defense] Secretary [James] Mattis—the units that are normally assigned weapons, they are, in fact, deploying with weapons,” he said.

O’Shaughnessy told reporters that the 5,200 active duty troops will join 2,092 National Guard members already stationed near the border since April. Troops will be pulled from army bases around the country, including Georgia, Kansas, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington state.

The order to send more troops began with President Donald Trump. The Department of Homeland Security then made a request to fulfill this directive with Defense Department. Defense Secretary Mattis approved it on Oct. 26.