The U.S. president has hardened his stance on immigration in a bid to rouse his political base ahead of the elections. His Republican party is in an uphill fight to control of the House of Representatives on Tuesday, although it is expected to pick up seats in the Senate.
The Pentagon said on Monday it was deploying more than 5,200 troops to the border at Trump’s direction to confront a caravan of men, women and children traveling through Mexico as they flee violence and poverty in Central America. Trump has characterized it as an “invasion” of migrants.
Mexico has said 2,800 to 3,000 people are in the caravan, which left Honduras in mid-October, although many are expected to drop off before reaching the U.S. border.
Trump also said on Thursday his administration was finalizing a plan to block immigrants who do not come into the United States at a legal port of entry from applying for asylum, although federal law allows any immigrant in the United States to do so.
Still, migrant caravans have pressed on. On Friday, a smaller caravan from El Salvador crossed through a river to enter the Mexico’s southern state of Chiapas.