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Thousands of US troops celebrate Thanksgiving at the Mexican border

Thousands of US troops had to celebrate Thanksgiving away from their families amid Donald Trump’s continued attack on the migrant caravan.

Around 5,800 troops were deployed to the US-Mexico border in a move that many of the president’s critics have called a political stunt to rally his base. 

‘Our troops and their families deserve better than to be used as props. Let them go home,’ Sen Elizabeth Warren tweeted at Trump this week. 

While questions surrounding the validity of Trump’s harsh stance on the caravan continue to swirl, the Pentagon did its best to give the troops a true Thanksgiving. 

Thousands of US troops had to celebrate Thanksgiving away from their families amid Donald Trump’s continued attack on the migrant caravan heading to the US-Mexico border 

Around 5,800 troops were deployed to the US-Mexico border in a move that many of the president's critics have called a political stunt to rally his base

Around 5,800 troops were deployed to the US-Mexico border in a move that many of the president’s critics have called a political stunt to rally his base

While questions surrounding the validity of Trump's harsh stance on the caravan continue to swirl, the Pentagon did its best to give the troops a true Thanksgiving

While questions surrounding the validity of Trump’s harsh stance on the caravan continue to swirl, the Pentagon did its best to give the troops a true Thanksgiving

Military members gathered in chow hall tents at Camp Donna to enjoy turkey, green beans, corns, and various other Thanksgiving dishes that they piled on plastic trays. 

Nearly 800 pounds of turkey alone went to troops serving on the US-Mexico border, while the Pentagon delivered 9,738 turkeys to troops around the world. 

A total of 300,000 pounds of food was shipped for Thanksgiving meals in the likes of the US, Afghanistan, and Iraq, according to the Washington Post. 

The Pentagon also delivered 16,284 pounds of sweet potatoes, 81,360 pies, 19,284 cakes, and 7,836 gallons of eggnog. 

It is a sweet tradition that has been going strong in the US military since the Pentagon first supplied turkey and cranberry sauce to World War II troops. 

Military members gathered in chow hall tents at Camp Donna to enjoy turkey, green beans, corns, and various other Thanksgiving dishes that they piled on plastic trays

Military members gathered in chow hall tents at Camp Donna to enjoy turkey, green beans, corns, and various other Thanksgiving dishes that they piled on plastic trays

Sgt Kyle Bizer prepares a turkey as US Army troops deployed to the US-Mexico border celebrate Thanksgiving at a base near the Donna-Rio Bravo International Bridge on Thursday 

Sgt Kyle Bizer prepares a turkey as US Army troops deployed to the US-Mexico border celebrate Thanksgiving at a base near the Donna-Rio Bravo International Bridge on Thursday 

US Army soldiers with the 289th Composite Supply Company in Fort Hood, Texas, part of Operation Faithful Patriot, deep fry a turkey on Thanksgiving day in Donna

US Army soldiers with the 289th Composite Supply Company in Fort Hood, Texas, part of Operation Faithful Patriot, deep fry a turkey on Thanksgiving day in Donna

Culinary specialists prepare turkeys as part of a Thanksgiving meal for troops deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border at a base near the Donna-Rio Bravo International Bridge on Thursday 

Culinary specialists prepare turkeys as part of a Thanksgiving meal for troops deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border at a base near the Donna-Rio Bravo International Bridge on Thursday 

And troops in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan have all continued the military’s Thanksgiving tradition since.

Army Brig Gen Mark Simerly said the Pentagon has provided troops at the border with ‘the very best Thanksgiving meal our country has to offer’. 

‘Many of America’s military men and women are away from home this Thanksgiving, making sacrifices to secure our freedom and to protect our southern border,’ he said in a statement. 

Troops also got to enjoy a ‘light-duty day’ on Thanksgiving, meaning they were asked to do little work – if any at all.  

A US Army soldier winds up to throw a football as he and other troops deployed to the US-Mexico border celebrate Thanksgiving in Donna 

A US Army soldier winds up to throw a football as he and other troops deployed to the US-Mexico border celebrate Thanksgiving in Donna 

Troops got to enjoy a 'light-duty day' on Thanksgiving, meaning they were asked to do little work - if any at all on Thursday 

Troops got to enjoy a ‘light-duty day’ on Thanksgiving, meaning they were asked to do little work – if any at all on Thursday 

Trump, who spent Thanksgiving at his upscale West Palm Beach golf resort Mar-a-Lago, was undeterred by critics who claimed he was keeping troops away from their families for political reasons rather than any national security concerns. 

Yet the holiday became extremely political as Trump told reporters that he had shut down the US border with Mexico because it is ‘out of control’. 

‘Actually, two days ago, we closed the border. We actually just closed it. We say nobody is coming in because it was out of control,’ Trump told reporters after he called US troops to wish them a Happy Thanksgiving.

‘It’s not that big a deal,’ the president added.

Trump said he signed an order closing the border two days ago, but when reporters asked if they could see a copy he replied: ‘You don’t need it’.  

It remains unclear what the president meant by the border closing.

Culinary specialists prepared 34 Turkeys along with a full Thanksgiving buffet for the hundreds of troops stationed between Donna and Weslaco, Texas

Culinary specialists prepared 34 Turkeys along with a full Thanksgiving buffet for the hundreds of troops stationed between Donna and Weslaco, Texas

Specialists Krayveon Harris (left) and Austin Garcia (right) relax after eating a Thanksgiving meal as troops deployed to the US-Mexico border celebrate the holiday

Specialists Krayveon Harris (left) and Austin Garcia (right) relax after eating a Thanksgiving meal as troops deployed to the US-Mexico border celebrate the holiday

Asked to clarify, Trump that he would ‘close entry’ into the US for a ‘period of time’ if ‘it gets to a level where we are going to lose control or where people are going to start getting hurt’. 

‘The whole border. I mean the whole border,’ he added. 

But when Trump was again asked to detail what he meant by closing the US border, he claimed that it was ‘already shut down’.  

‘I already shut it down for short periods,’ he said. ‘I shut down parts of the border because it was out of control. With the rioting on the other side in Mexico. And I just said shut it down.’

Trump also told reporters on Thursday that he has given US troops permission to use lethal force against anyone crossing the border who ‘poses a threat’.  

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly signed an order late Tuesday that allows US troops stationed at the border to use lethal force, if necessary, to stop illegal immigrants from crossing into the United States. 

US Air Force Gen Terrence O'Shaughnessy, the North American Aerospace Defense Command and US Northern Command, Commanding General, and U.S. Marine Corps Command Sgt Maj Paul G. McKenna, join troops for a Thanksgiving feast at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona

US Air Force Gen Terrence O’Shaughnessy, the North American Aerospace Defense Command and US Northern Command, Commanding General, and U.S. Marine Corps Command Sgt Maj Paul G. McKenna, join troops for a Thanksgiving feast at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona

Sgt Alexander Santacruz checks the internal temperature of a turkey as troops deployed to the US-Mexico border celebrate Thanksgiving in Donna

Sgt Alexander Santacruz checks the internal temperature of a turkey as troops deployed to the US-Mexico border celebrate Thanksgiving in Donna

‘If they have to, they have to use lethal force. I hope they don’t have to, but you’re dealing with a minimum of 500 serious criminals,’ Trump said on Thursday, without providing any evidence to back up his claims. 

‘So I’m not going to let the military be taken advantage of. I have no choice,’ he added.  

A White House official told DailyMail.com the authorization came from the president and Kelly was merely communicating the instructions.

The official also said the military is not doing ‘law enforcement’ but will be there to protect border agents should the situation require it.

‘Law enforcement’ could violate the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act, which restricts the use of the US military as a police force.

Trump, who spent Thanksgiving at his upscale West Palm Beach golf resort Mar-a-Lago, was undeterred by critics who claimed he was keeping troops away from their families for political reasons rather than any national security concerns

Trump, who spent Thanksgiving at his upscale West Palm Beach golf resort Mar-a-Lago, was undeterred by critics who claimed he was keeping troops away from their families for political reasons rather than any national security concerns

Yet the holiday became extremely political as Trump told reporters that he had shut down the US border with Mexico because it is 'out of control'. Pictured is a migrant child looking up at a Mexican police officer in riot gear at the Chaparral border crossing in Tijuana, Mexico on Thursday 

Yet the holiday became extremely political as Trump told reporters that he had shut down the US border with Mexico because it is ‘out of control’. Pictured is a migrant child looking up at a Mexican police officer in riot gear at the Chaparral border crossing in Tijuana, Mexico on Thursday 

Migrants link arms as they march together with the intention of crossing the border as a group at the Chaparral border crossing in Tijuana on Thursday 

Migrants link arms as they march together with the intention of crossing the border as a group at the Chaparral border crossing in Tijuana on Thursday 

A migrant man pushes a child in a baby stroller amid riot police as they join a small group of migrants trying to cross the border together at the Chaparral border crossing

A migrant man pushes a child in a baby stroller amid riot police as they join a small group of migrants trying to cross the border together at the Chaparral border crossing

Trump’s order, set forth in a ‘Cabinet memo’, will likely be challenged in court.

It comes after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling against the administration’s ban on asylum for illegal immigrants, a decision that infuriated President Trump.

But Trump isn’t backing down when it comes to his fury against the caravan. 

His administration is now hoping to force Central Americans seeking asylum at the border to wait in Mexico while their claims are processed. 

Only migrants who can prove they have a ‘reasonable fear’ of persecution in Mexico would be permitted to enter the US as they await a hearing with an immigration judge.

The new measure from the Trump administration would actually be illegal under current Mexican law, which does not allow those applying for asylum in another country to wait in Mexico. 

It would also put migrants, including many mothers and young children, in the throes of Mexico’s violent border cities, which are overrun by the drug cartels. 

Central American migrants remain in a shelter at the Sports Center Benito Juarez in Tijuana, Mexico on Thursday 

Central American migrants remain in a shelter at the Sports Center Benito Juarez in Tijuana, Mexico on Thursday 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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