Trump calls for military on the border as "caravan" of migrants moves through Mexico

WHITE HOUSE -- President Trump is taking new action intended to stop illegal immigration. He announced on Tuesday that he is sending U.S troops to the border with Mexico.

"We are going to be guarding our border with our military," Mr. Trump said. "That's a big step."

Without providing details, Mr. Trump said U.S. troops are needed to secure the U.S-Mexico border until 700-800 miles of wall can be built.

"I think that it's something we have to do," Mr. Trump said. 

Mr. Trump's predecessors took similar action. In 2006, President George W. Bush sent 6,000 unarmed National Guard troops to provide technical, engineering and office support. President Obama dispatched 1,200 members of the National Guard to the southern border in 2010. In both instances, they did not act as law enforcement personnel.  

This so-called caravan of about 1,200 migrants moving through Mexico appears to have sparked the president's interest in militarizing the border.

"Now, the caravan, which is over 1,000 people coming in from Honduras, thought they were just going to walk right through Mexico and right through the border," Mr. Trump said. 

The migrants are primarily fleeing violence in Honduras and may be bound for the U.S. border..

CBS News correspondent Manuel Bojorquez spoke via video chat to one caravan organizer, Irineo Arzate. 

"I don't know what Donald Trump says but one of the things that I can tell you we are trying to find sensible solutions. We are trying to get people to be documented here," Arzate said. "They are trying to get a place where they can live without fear ... so he can say whatever he wants and he can be as irresponsible as he wants."

The president linked the caravan and border security to the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), threatening harsher treatment of Mexico as negotiations intensify.

"I said, 'I hope you're going to tell that caravan not to get up to the border,' and I think they're doing that, because, as of 12 minutes ago, it was all being broken up," Mr. Trump said. "We'll see what happens."

The National Guard has received no notice to prepare to deploy to the border. The Department of Homeland Security referred all questions to the White House. South American diplomats said the idea of the placing the military on the border would generate hostility toward Mr. Trump and solidarity with Mexico at next week's Summit of the Americas in Peru.