(ABC News) In a move with potentially major political implications just days before the midterm elections, President Donald Trump said Wednesday that the deployment of active duty forces to the southern U.S. border would increase dramatically — to 10,000 or 15,000 troops. “We have about 5,000. We’ll do up anywhere between 10 and 15,000 military personnel on top of border patrol, ICE [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement], and everybody else at the border,” Trump told reporters on the White House South Lawn on Wednesday.
The numbers cited by Trump would be a significant increase over the 5,200 active duty forces originally slated by U.S. Northern Command (Northcom) to stop a migrant caravan, still some 800 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border. Fifteen thousand is roughly the number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan and three times the number in Iraq. Later on Wednesday, U.S. Northern Command announced that it now estimated that 7,000 active duty forces would be used for the mission to support Customs and Border Protection personnel. READ MORE