US Mexico Border
Troops are heading to the US-Mexico border as part of the newly announced “Operation Faithful Patriot” to stop the migrant caravan heading to the country. In this image: U.S. customs and border patrol agents and riot policemen take part in a border security drill at the US-Mexico international bridge, as seen from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Oct. 29, 2018. Getty Images/Herika Martinez

A new video released Monday by the Defense Department showed troops heading to the US-Mexico border as part of the newly announced “Operation Faithful Patriot” to stop a migrant caravan heading to the country.

The video, taken on Sunday, surfaced a little while after the Department of Defense announced it will deploy at least 5,200 active-duty troops to the U.S.-Mexico border in an effort to prevent the illegal entry of a migrant caravan to the country. Reports said about 800 troops were already en route to Texas from Fort Campbell and Fort Knox. More will follow this week, it added.

It will also deploy helicopter and other aviation units armed with night vision technology to identify people who try to illegally cross the border and notify border patrol agents, who are currently manning the border, so they could apprehend them, Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy, commander of U.S. Northern Command said.

“We will be able to spot and identify groups, and rapidly deploy CBP (Customs and Border Protection) personnel where they are needed,” he said. Military engineering units will build temporary barriers at the border, layout concertina wire at ports of entry, and construct temporary housing for U.S. personnel, he added.

The latest video showed a C-17 Globemaster III aircrew with the 3rd Airlift Squadron at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, leaving the base to head to the southwest border region. They were responding to an alert call from Fort Knox army post, Kentucky.

It may be noted that the move comes just a week before the midterm elections. The caravan, which is making its way through Mexico, has been a hot topic of discussion in the recent weeks. Last week, President Donald Trump vowed to send as many troops as he can to the border to stop the caravan, consisting of people from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, from entering the country.

"Please go back, you will not be admitted into the United States unless you go through the legal process," he tweeted at the time. "This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you."

As per an order from Trump earlier this year, about 2,100 National Guard troops were already fanned out across the border. The president had earlier warned about the dangers posed by the people in the caravan. At one point, he even said the caravan had middle-easterners as well. The claim was not substantiated with any proof.

According to a report in the USA today, the size of the caravan, which stood at 7,000 last week when they entered Mexico, has dwindled down to 3,500 after many of them filed an asylum application in Mexico and many more accepted assistance to return to their home countries.

The administration had then said they were considering a plan to deploy about 1,000 active-duty troops to the border. Operation Faithful Patriot will now surpass 5,200, O’Shaughnessy said. The number of troops deployed could increase depending on the demands placed by the border protection agents.

"That is just the start of this operation," O’Shaughnessy said at a news conference held at CBP headquarters in Washington on Monday. "Border security is national security.”

Reports said the deployed troops will not conduct law enforcement activities. Some of them will be armed to provide support to border patrol agents, it added. National Guard units are already assisting at the border by monitoring video surveillance feeds so that they could direct patrol agents of any detected entry.