WASHINGTON: Pentagon officials declined a preliminary Trump administration request for the US military to build facilities to house detained migrants as part of its new mission on the Mexican border, US officials said.

The disclosure by US officials illustrates the tension within the administration over using military resources to fortify the border against illegal immigration, a top election issue for President Donald Trump’s base.

Last week, the military announced that over 7,000 troops would go to the border with Mexico as a caravan of Central American migrants slowly heads towards the United States.

Meanwhile, a big group of Central Americans has agreed to push towards Mexico City from a coastal state on Monday, planning to exit a part of the country that has long been treacherous for migrants seeking to get to the United States.

In a thundering voice vote on Sunday night at a gymnasium in Cordoba, about 1,000 members of a migrant caravan that has been moving northwards through Mexico voted to try to get to the capital by walking and hitching rides.

Cordoba is 178 miles (286 kilometres) from the capital, which would be the group’s longest single-day journey yet for the caravan.

The migrants hope to regroup in the capital, seeking medical care and rest while they await stragglers. The caravan has found strength in numbers as it meanders north.

Published in Dawn, November 6th, 2018