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US PRESIDENT Donald Trump escalated anti-migrant sentiment today as he mobilised the army to the border with Mexico to confront thousands of Central American refugees bidding to enter the country.
In previously toxic rhetoric he described those fleeing poverty and violence in Honduras as “invaders,” a phrase allegedly echoed by the Pittsburgh synagogue gunman Robert Bowers.
The Pentagon sent 5,200 troops to the border as part of Operation Faithful Patriot, although the migrants are believed to be several weeks away from arriving in the US.
Mr Trump said that “tent cities” would be erected to house those seeking asylum, but he warned that the “invasion” would find US soldiers greeting them on the US-Mexico border.
"If they apply for asylum, we’re going to hold them until such time as their trial takes place. We're going to hold them, we're going to build tent cities, we’re gonna build tents all over the place,” he said.
More than 2,000 National Guards are already waiting on the border and will be joined by helicopters, planes and barriers with miles of razor wire by the end of the week as Mr Trump is determined to keep the migrants out of the US.
He has threatened to withdraw US funding from those countries that refuse to deal with the migrant caravan as it makes its way across from Honduras across Central America.
Those fleeing from desperation have been met with hostility, including attacks by pesticide in Mexico where a heavy-handed response from the authorities was praised by Mr Trump.
The situation in Honduras has deteriorated following a US-backed coup in 2009 which ousted President Manuel Zelaya.
Mr Trump’s belligerent stance has seen him portray the migrant caravan as a threat to national security with some claiming he is posturing prior to next week’s crucial mid-term elections.
He took to Twitter on Monday to say: "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!"
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