The Trump administration will deploy 5,200 soldiers to the U.S.-Mexico border as part of the newly launched Operation Secure Line initiative to prepare for thousands of Central American migrants headed north, Pentagon and Homeland Security officials announced Monday afternoon.
Eight hundred of those troops have already been deployed from Fort Campbell and Fort Knox, according to U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command General Terrence John O’Shaughnessy.
The Department of Homeland Security last week deployed additional military personnel to the border as a caravan of people coming from Central America heads north.
The new wave of personnel will supplement the 2,100 National Guard troops already deployed to Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California. Trump asked for the Guard’s help in March when a 10,000-person caravan coming from Central America was reported.
Other details about the new deployment remain unclear, but that’s because the Pentagon has yet to decide who it will send to the border.
Trump told military officials in a meeting earlier this week he wanted active-duty troops in addition to the guard. DOD would not comment on whether he will get personnel from both groups.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said the government is tracking two groups of migrants headed to the United States. The first group is located in southern Mexico and the second caravan is in Guatemala near the southern Mexico border.
President Trump, meanwhile, has called for the caravans to turn back and warned its members that the military “is waiting for you!”
He tweeted Monday: “Many Gang Members and some very bad people are mixed into the Caravan heading to our Southern Border. Please go back, you will not be admitted into the United States unless you go through the legal process. This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!”