A MIGRANT washes himself in Mapastepec, Mexico, this week. Reuters
US President Donald Trump said yesterday he was “bringing out the military” to protect the US border as a caravan of Central American migrants continued a slow trek through Mexico towards the country.

Despite raising Trump’s ire, thousands of Central American men, women and children seeking to escape violence, poverty and government corruption in their home countries continued their journey toward the distant US border.

Under a full moon early yesterday, they walked from Mapastepec, close to the Guatemala border in southern Mexico. A town official said there were 5300 migrants in Mapastepec on Wednesday night.

A second group of more than a thousand people has started a similar journey from Guatemala.

“I am bringing out the military for this National Emergency. They will be stopped!” Trump wrote on Twitter, referring to the migrants.

White House and Pentagon officials did not comment on military deployment or any national emergency.

Trump and his fellow Republicans have sought to make the caravan and immigration major issues before the November 6 congressional elections in which the party is trying to maintain control of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

A federal law dating to the 1870s restricts the use of the military for civilian law enforcement on US soil, unless specifically authorised by Congress. But the military can provide support services to law enforcement.

Meanwhile, sickness, fear and police harassment are whittling down the migrant caravan making its way to the US border, with many of the 4000 to 5000 migrants camped overnight under plastic sheeting in a town in southern Mexico complaining of exhaustion.

In recent days a few hundred have accepted government offers to bus them back to their home countries. Reuters AP