The Trump administration has ordered an additional 5,200 troops to the U.S. Mexico border just a week before the midterm elections. The president has put his focus on the Central American migrant caravan that is still hundreds of miles from the U.S. Many see the deployment of troops as an effort to drive the president’s base to the polls next week as he continues to stoke fears about illegal immigration.
President Donald Trump is delpoying 5,2000 additional troops to the U.S.-Mexico border just one week before the midterm elections.
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) October 29, 2018
The deployment of forces is being called “Operation Faithful Patriot” will include military police, pilots, and engineers that will be at the border from November 5 to December 15. The troops won’t be able to participate in detaining or deporting any of the migrants because U.S. law forbids them from detaining individuals at the border. They will be able to assist officials by doing things like transporting border agents and providing emergency care.
“As we sit here today, we have about 800 soldiers that are on their way right now. They’re coming from from Ft. Campbell. They’re coming from Ft. Knox. They’re moving closer to the border” and are “ready to be employed on the border,” Terrence O’Shaughnessy, head of the U.S. Northern Command, said in a news conference.
The number of troops being deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border is almost the same number of troops the U.S. has in Syria and Iraq.
Some are calling the deployment of troops to the U.S. border a political move as midterms loom next week.
"The president is really trying to weaponise this event, this caravan for political reasons."
US commentators debate President Trump's decision to send thousands of troops to the US border. pic.twitter.com/hpGnsIpLci
— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) October 31, 2018
The president sent out a tweet Wednesday morning saying “The Caravans are made up of some very tough fighters and people” and that they “Should stop them before they reach our Border.” He also claimed that the migrant caravans making their way through the south of Mexico are “made up of some very bad thugs and gang members”.
This comes a day after the president announced that he would end birthright citizenship by executive order, a plan with shaky legal standing. Yet many just see this as fear mongering against immigrants as the midterms quickly approach next Tuesday. Trump has labeled the migrants as an “invasion” and falsely stated they harbor terrorists and are financed by Democrats. The president denied his focus on the caravan is intended rile up voters in next week’s midterms. Trump told Fox News Channel’s Laura Ingraham, “This has nothing to do with elections.”
The caravan is still weeks away from reaching the U.S.-Mexico border and would still face challenges entering the country.
CREDIT: CREDIT: USA Today
The highest estimate of the number of migrants was at 7,000, but the caravan has dwindled as some return home or seek asylum in Mexico. Current estimates put the number of migrants over or near 4,000. Any migrants who makes it to the U.S. border already face major challenges in being allowed into the U.S. Under current law, migrants who clear initial screenings are then released until their cases are decided in immigration court, which can take up to several years.
Migrants are legally allowed to apply for asylum under both U.S. and international law, but there is already a backlog of would-be asylum seekers.
“The men and women of the U.S. military work hard to protect us from real threats. It is beyond cynical, and sets a terrible precedent, to exploit them for political stagecraft in the run-up to an election,” Adam Isacson, director for defense oversight at the Washington Office on Latin America, told the LA Times.”This is the very opposite of what the U.S. military’s mission is.”