Hanna Bogorowski, DCNF
President Donald Trump amped up calls to send active duty military to the border as a crowd of thousands of Central American migrants make their way to the U.S., promising Wednesday that he’d send up to 15,000 troops instead of the 5,000 that military officials were prepared to send Monday.
Trump doubled down on his promises to keep the migrants, most of whom are coming from Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua, out of the country as he talked to reporters Wednesday before heading to a rally in Florida.
“We’re going to be prepared. They are not coming into our country,” Trump said, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The president announced he’d send “anywhere between 10 and 15,000 military personnel” to the southern border, a declaration that WSJ reported caught a few Pentagon officials off guard.
The Department of Defense was reportedly prepared to send 5,000 troops to the southern border earlier this week to provide backup support to border officials and other agents down there by way of providing medical support and helping out in command centers, as well as to be prepared if groups of migrants storm the border.
This new figure, if the troops are deployed, will be in addition to the 2,000 members of the National Guard who were deployed to the border in April.
Trump’s comment to reporters came after his Monday pledge to issue a future executive order to end birthright citizenship for illegal immigrants and some other non-citizens, a policy he claims has cost the country “billions of dollars.”
“We’re the only country in the world where a person comes in, has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States for 85 years with all of those benefits,” Trump said in an interview with Axios.
Defense Secretary James Mattis denied a reporter’s suggestion Wednesday that the Pentagon’s deployment of troops is part of a political stunt by the administration just days before November’s midterm elections.
“We don’t do stunts in this department. Thank you,” Mattis responded.