But the Wall Street Journal reported Monday that 5,000 troops would deploy to the southern border. Guatemalan firefighters confirmed that a 26-year-old Honduran was killed from a rubber bullet hitting his head.At a news conference late Sunday, Mexican Interior Secretary Alfonso Navarrete Prida denied that his country's forces were responsible.He said that Mexican federal police and immigration agents were attacked with rocks, glass bottles and fireworks when migrants broke through a gate on the Mexican side of the border, but that none of the officers were armed with firearms or anything that could fire rubber bullets.
US President Donald Trump in recent weeks has repeatedly said more troops are needed to tighten border security, and he has made political capital of the caravan ahead of crucial midterm congressional elections that could see the Democrats regain some degree of power.
Worn down from long miles of walking and frustrated by the caravan's slow progress, some migrants have been dropping out and returning home or applying for protected status in Mexico.
The massive deployment marks a sharp increase from initial estimates last week, when U.S. officials said about 800 active-duty troops would head south.
President Donald Trump warned the "caravan of migrants" approaching the US-Mexico border Monday that the US military will be waiting for them when they arrive.
That's in addition to the more than 2,000 members of the National Guard already helping at the border now.
Trump tweeted: "This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!"
But Mexican officials seem intent only on seeing the caravan melt away as it travels toward the U.S. border.
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The first group passed through the spot via the river - wading or on rafts - and was advancing through southern Mexico.
"We're gonna have tents, they're gonna be very nice, and they're going to wait, and if they don't get asylum they get out".
General Terrence O'Shaughnessy, the head of U.S. Northern Command, said 800 U.S. troops were already en route to the Texas border and more were headed to the borders in California and Arizona. We're going to hold them, we're going to build tent cities, we're gonna build tents all over the place.
Trump says that the US was "going to be prepared" and that the migrants are "not coming into our country". The military troops are meant to assist the border patrol, not engage directly with migrants, several officials said.
He continued his threats on Monday, tweeting, without providing evidence, that, "Many Gang Members and some very bad people are mixed into the Caravan heading to our Southern Border". The troops expected to be sent to the border will primarily consist of military police and engineers, but the military also reportedly plans to send Marines.
The projected US deployment is already roughly the same size as the USA military contingent in Iraq. It remains hundreds of miles from US soil.
"Please go back", he urged them, "you will not be admitted into the United States unless you go through the legal process".