On Monday, President Donald Trump ordered the deployment of 5,200 military troops to the United States border with Mexico by the end of the week in order to curb immigration, a move that quickly sparked criticism just days before the midterm elections.

The announcement comes after Trump and several other prominent Republicans have ranted against a large “caravan” of Hispanic migrants who have been approaching the U.S. southern border in an attempt to “invade” the country. The immigrants have been traveling through Mexico from Honduras and several other Latin American countries. Democrats have condemned the fear-mongering rhetoric of the Trump administration and GOP officials, talking points that have also been intensely propagated by conservative media outlets like Fox News.

Many prominent liberal officials and former military veterans have denounced Trump and the Defense Department for sending troops to the border by saying the president is merely using this action as a way to serve his own political interest ahead of the pivotal midterms, which will be held on Nov. 6.

“This is using the troops as props,” Jason Dempsey, who served as an Army infantry officer in Iraq and Afghanistan, told The New York Times. “We’re using a bunch of people to waste their time while they backstop the Border Patrol.”

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According to the Times, the number of immigrants traveling with the caravan has decreased from 7,000 to under 3,500. The group — which Trump accused Democrats of helping to fund — remains very far from reaching the U.S.


Trump has repeatedly stoked fear of violent Hispanic immigrants since before taking office, beginning with his infamously controversial remarks about Mexicans being “rapists” and drug dealers at the start of his presidential campaign in 2015. More recently, Trump has railed against gang organizations like MS-13, and said his administration is determined to stop illegal immigration at all costs. The administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy on illegal migration resulted in hundreds of families being separated at the border and children being kept in detention facilities earlier this year. Many immigrant parents are still apart from their children today.

Trump also announced this week that his administration will build “tent cities” in order to indefinitely house immigrants looking for asylum in the U.S. This seems to defy court orders that forbid long-term detention of migrants.

“We are going to put tents up all over the place,” Trump said Monday evening on Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle.

“We are not going to build structures and spend all of this, hundreds of millions of dollars,” he added. “We are going to have tents. They are going to be very nice, and if they don’t get asylum, they get out.”

Despite all this, even some anchors on Fox News — Trump’s favorite network — have said they believe sending troops to the border to solve the issue is unnecessary and excessive.

“Tomorrow is one week before the election, which is what this is all about,” Shepard Smith, a Fox News anchor, said Monday on his show. “There is no invasion. No one is coming to get you. There is nothing at all to worry about.”

He added: “We’re America. We can handle it.”

There are already approximately 2,100 National Guard members stationed near the southern border, although according to Politico, they are merely serving as intelligence analysts for the U.S. Border Patrol.

According to the Times, Trump is mulling a new executive order that would ban entry to Central Americans, including for those seeking asylum.

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