The number of US troops to be deployed at the Mexico border could reach 15 000, President Trump said on Wednesday afternoon.
Trump has repeatedly warned that the US was “going to be prepared” and that the migrants are “not coming into our country”. He characterised the migrants as an invading force.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon on the same day that the deployment of troops was based on a request from the Department of Homeland Security. Mattis added: “We don’t do stunts in this department.” The Department’s initial estimate was for 7 000 troops at the border.
The Associated Press reported that armed civilians are also heading for the border to support the National Guard and Border Patrol to prevent the illegal migrants from crossing into the country, as concerned groups on Facebook have urged people to mobilize in the face of the migrant invasion.
Texas Minuteman militia president Shannon McGauley confirmed that they will deploy at three locations along the state’s border with Mexico, and he expects 25-100 more members arriving in coming days. The US Border Patrol has alerted local landowners in Texas that “possible armed civilians” can be expected to arrive on their property.
“Watch posts (stations) will be on private and legal public land, most within sight of the Rio Grande River, the international border with Mexico,” the Minutemen announced. Militia border patrols are a common feature in the US, as civilians are those who typically alert border patrol to trespassers.
Worried Americans from non-border states have been raising money in order to assist the militias with supplies and equipment. Monica Marin, a resident from Oregon, said she has already raised around $4 000 online to help militias buy supplies. Marin says the migrant caravans are dangerous because criminals have infiltrated them.
“I see young, fighting-age men who do not look like they’re starving. They look like they’re ready to fight,” Marin pointed out. “We’re trained. We’re not hotheads. We’re not out there to shoot people.”
Marin’s fears are real, sadly. It has been reported that seven children were being covertly trafficked in a second caravan currently moving through Guatemala by criminals. They were rescued by Guatemalan law enforcement on Thursday.
One caravaner even admitted that to Fox News on camera that he had been convicted of attempted murder. He claims he is planning to reenter and request a pardon for his felony.
Press Secretary Tyler Q Houlton from the US Department of Homeland Security, has confirmed President Trump’s claims on his Twitter page, stating that there are criminals in the migrant caravan moving from Honduras to the US southern border via Mexico.
President Trump said the troop deployment will be aimed at preventing the entry of the migrant caravan from Central America, but rejected the idea he was “fearmongering” for political purposes, Fox News reported.
According to Trump, the administration will “go up to anywhere between 10 and 15 000 military personnel on top of Border Patrol, ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] and everybody else at the border”.
Some 15 000 troops would mean roughly the same level of troops as in war-torn Afghanistan.
Democrats are angry about the Trump administration’s resolve, because they rely on migrants voting for them. “The enormous flow of legal immigrants into the country — 29.5 million from 1980 to 2012 — has remade and continues to remake the nation’s electorate in favor of the Democratic Party,” a 2014 report from the Center for Immigration Studies revealed.
Trump said the Democratic Party knows very well that migrants are future liberal voters.
“As you know I’m willing to send the military to defend our southern border if necessary, all because of the illegal immigration onslaught brought by the Democrats because they refuse to acknowledge or to change the laws. They like it. They also figure everybody coming in is going to vote Democrat,” Trump told a group of supporters gathered at a rally in Missoula recently.
On Tuesday Trump said he was also preparing an executive order to end birthright citizenship. The 14th Amendment to the US Constitution does not require universal birthright citizenship, according to legal experts.
“We’re the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States for 85 years, with all of those benefits,” Trump told Axios during an interview. “It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. And it has to end.”
The 14th Amendment states that “all persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof” are citizens. The conditional phrase is conveniently ignored or misinterpreted by advocates of “birthright” citizenship.
“The Supreme Court of the United States has never ruled on whether the language of the 14th Amendment — ‘subject to the jurisdiction thereof’ — applies specifically to people who are in the country illegally,” Vice President Mike Pence told Politico.
Universal birthright citizenship has attracted illegal immigration. By granting immediate citizenship to anyone born on US soil, regardless of the legal status of the parents, the US has encouraged illegal and exploitative immigration.
For that reason, most countries around the world do not offer birthright citizenship. Only 30 countries grant automatic birthright citizenship, according to a study by the Center for Immigration Studies.